GALION — City of Galion Law Director Thomas N. Palmer faces a challenge from local attorney E. Roberta Wade in the Nov. 2 general election.
The Ohio Revised Code outlines the role and duties of the city law director:
“The city director of law shall prepare all contracts, bonds, and other instruments in writing in which the city is concerned, and shall serve the several directors and officers provided in Title VII of the Revised Code as legal counsel and attorney.
“The director of law shall be prosecuting attorney of the mayor’s court. When the legislative authority of the city allows assistants to the director of law, he may designate the assistants to act as prosecuting attorneys of the mayor’s court. The person designated shall be subject to the approval of the legislative authority.”
Thomas N. Palmer
Palmer has served as city law director for two terms since being elected in November 2013. Prior to being elected law director, Palmer was in private practice, both as part of a local firm and on his own, and also conducted contract legal services.
Concerns and priorities: “Since I was elected director of law, it has been a non-stop effort to bring new businesses and investment and jobs to Galion. We’ve had a lot of success and I’m hoping that success continues. I’m really excited about the recent investment that has come to Galion with the Carter Crossings apartments and Buehler’s (Fresh Foods). These are things that we’ve been working on and take a lot of effort. I know economic development; I can negotiate contracts; I’ve done that on these projects, and they’ve been almost uniformly successful.
“I’m responsible for the prosecuting work in Crawford County Municipal Court and I have chosen to bring in the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office to do that. It’s a real novel arrangement that has worked out well for both sides. That’s something I initiated here.
“My office also runs the Victims of Crime program. We have a wonderful Victims of Crime advocate Jim Scott who works for me and works with victims of crime, domestic violence and other types of crime, to bring some wholeness to their lives, both mentally and economically.”
Why should constituents vote for you on Nov. 2? “It’s because I love the community. This is where I live. This is my home, where my children grew up. I’m working as hard as I can to bring jobs and new development to the community. When the call comes in for the city to negotiate a particular development project, a commercial development, you want someone there that speaks that language. You absolutely have to have that. We’re in a competitive market. Other cities have that kind of talent there. We’re lucky here in Galion to have two people with that kind of background, with the mayor being the other one. I think that’s vitally important.”
E. Roberta Wade
Wade’s background in public service includes working for the State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County, and the City of Galion. In Galion, she has served as a council member, city auditor, and a partial term as law director. She has been an attorney since 1991 and currently has a private practice.
Concerns and priorities: “The city needs to adhere to the open meetings law, the sunshine law. Public business is to be discussed at public meetings, out in the open so everyone gets the same information and the public knows what’s going on. It (illegal private meetings) does not promote good government. As a law director, I would make sure that the city adheres to the open meetings laws and public business would be discussed at public meetings only.
“I think there’s a problem with council understanding their full powers and how they should function. When you have a council that is not properly functioning, then they lose power to other parts of the city government. In this case, it’s the mayor. The council needs to get some information, training, about exactly how they should function so that we have better checks and balances in our city government.
“I think the law director needs to function as the chief legal officer for the city. They’re elected by the citizens. The citizens are the boss of the law director, not the mayor, not the council, not the auditor. The city government needs to function for the benefit of the citizens and that’s all those different entities — the council, the mayor, the auditor, and the law director. You have to take a look at who is electing you. Who is your boss. That goes for all of those offices.”
Why should constituents vote for you on Nov. 2? “I have always taken seriously representing my clients, or in this case, representing the citizens of Galion. I have a passion to see that the city government gets properly run and that is for the benefit of the citizens. That’s who is my boss and that’s who I will work diligently for.”