XENIA — Greene County’s current clerk of courts has a challenger in the March 17 primary.
Clerk of Courts AJ Williams and Christy L. Ahrens, both Republicans, are running for the seat. There are no Democrats on the ballot, so the winner of the primary will become clerk after the November general election.
Both candidates, speaking in alphabetical order, were given three minutes to share their vision for the office at the Greene County Tea Party’s Meet the Candidates Night Feb. 18.
“I have a vested interest in Greene County and I love this community, which is partially why I’m here tonight,” Ahrens began, stating that she’s lived in the county most of her life.
Ahrens’ term as Beavercreek Township fiscal officer ends in March. She said she was first appointed in 2006 and is responsible for a $25 million budget.
In 2014, Ahrens began working part-time in the clerk’s office under former Greene County Clerk of Courts Terri Mazur, who has endorsed her in the race.
“Under her mentorship I learned the importance of the duties of that office and how accuracy, timeliness, and respect for procedures and law were paramount in every division,” Ahrens explained.
Ahrens became a deputy clerk for Judge Adolfo Tornichio in 2017, then became chief deputy clerk of Greene County Juvenile Court in 2018.
Managing a staff of 12 deputy clerks, Ahrens said she has improved customer service and helped implement a new case management plan and paperless files.
“I have the hands-on knowledge, experience and confidence to bring back the high standards of this office,” Ahrens said. “I will do so by ensuring that court documents will be processed timely and accurately. Financial oversight will consist of a hands-on approach. Excess turnover and low morale will be eliminated through coordinated training, education and mentorship.”
Ahrens said she’ll eliminate the automated phone system, evaluate office hours and re-instate essential duties of the position, like swearing-in jurors and staying apprised of local mandates.
“I swore in my 40th jury this morning,” Williams began, thanking Judge Stephen Wolaver, who was in the crowd.
Williams said he grew up in Beavercreek and graduated from Carroll High School and the University of Dayton (UD). In 2010, he was the Greene County victory captain for the Ohio Republican Party before receiving his master’s degree in public administration from UD.
In 2012, he worked on the presidential campaign, then worked in the secretary of state’s office.
“I served a 12-county region in southwest Ohio and I learned a lot about public service and serving the boards of elections and how to respond to the public in the right way,” Williams said.
Williams also served as chief deputy to Greene County Recorder Eric Sears.
After Mazur retired, the Greene County Commissioners and the Greene County Republican Central Committee unanimously appointed Williams as clerk in 2018. He was elected in 2018.
“Our office has become much more dynamic and transparent. We’ve been able to purchase new scanners that have brought our 25-page-a-minute count to 75 pages,” he said. “Our deputies can work in different divisons — criminal can work in civil, civil can work in domestic relations, and it’s just been great for the whole office.”
The clerk talked about the auto title office’s success this year — generating $982,000 in fees and transferring it to the county’s general fund. With the legal division generating about $300,000 per year, Williams said the office brings in more money than it spends.
“I’m going to continue that every year,” he said.
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