MEDINA — A familiar face emerged the winner in the Republican race for Medina Municipal Court clerk.
Nancy L. Abbott, who has held the position for 11 years, secured 3,131 votes (59.64 percent) to 2,119 (40.36 percent ) for challenger Thomas C. Decker, according to unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections. The vote tally will be certified at a later date.
“I live to campaign another day,” Abbott said Tuesday night.
Abbott, 65, will face independent Lori Henry in the November general election. Henry, the court administrator, filed Monday to run in November.
“I beat her 11 years ago when I ran for clerk (in 2006),” Abbott said.
Henry has been Municipal Court Judge Dale H. Chase’s court administrator.
Whoever prevails in the general election will be working with a new municipal court judge because Chase is retiring after 30 years on the bench.
Former Brunswick mayor Gary Werner won the GOP primary judicial race against Brunswick Councilman Joe Salzgeber and Fred Bougher.
“(Decker) ran a very strong race,” Abbott said. “I’m ready for the November election.”
Abbott and Decker both grew up in Parma Heights and graduated from Valley Forge High School.
Abbott said she has two main goals for her next term, should she be re-elected. The first is to make the court more responsive to residents and the second is to help create a smooth transition for the new judge.
When people come to the court seeking a case file, clerks must retrieve a paper file either from the courthouse basement or a remote document storage area at 510 Gateway Drive in Medina.
The court has been storing documents there for five years because officials ran out of room in the courthouse. So retrieving a document may take several days.
Just after Abbott took office in 2007, the court began digitizing documents.
“Now we are scanning everything in every case,” she said.
The clerk manages a $1 million budget, including a full-time staff of nine, but she said she would like to spend less.
“Hopefully, I can negotiate a better deal,” she said. “I want to get more bang for my buck. I’m hoping that by the end of the year I’ll have new ... software that will make us a more efficient court.”
Abbott believes a new software package will cost approximately $350,000 to $400,000.
Decker, 58, attended Cuyahoga Community College, where he earned associate degrees in applied sciences and criminal justice/security administration before joining the Parma police force, where he served for 28 years.
“Whoever is elected to these positions is going to have to manage growth — growth of the court to accommodate population growth in this city,” he said.
“Medina is a great place to live, and it’s going to keep growing.”
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.