MUNROE FALLS — What is the future of the city’s mayor’s court?
City Council is beginning to examine that question. Council President Jenny Markovich directed the public safety committee to study the possibility of moving all of the city’s cases to the Stow Municipal Court. Both Mayor James Armstrong and Law Director Tom Kostoff encouraged the committee to take its time with the review.
Council discussed the issue after hearing Stow Municipal Court Judge Kim Hoover deliver a presentation in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the court moving from Cuyahoga Falls to Stow.
The Munroe Falls Mayor’s Court hosted its first session in May 2009, and adjudicates traffic offenses and minor misdemeanors. Armstrong said when he took office in 2016, he told council he was “not a big fan of mayor’s courts philosophically.” He noted such court systems were “needed many years ago.”
“Are they needed now?” asked Armstrong. “I don’t know …I think it’s something we do need to look at.”
Council member Allen Mavrides said he felt he and his colleagues should assess whether the municipal court’s financial success touted by Hoover was going to continue and felt that evaluation needed to be part of officials’ decision making process on the issue.
“I think we should study [the municipal court’s] trends,” said Mavrides. “…They may have peaked in their trends.”
Council member Gary Toth said he felt “pretty good” about the financial information for the mayor’s court. A few years ago, Toth said, while the court “wasn’t broke,” he thought it was “on its way to being broke.” Since then, however, he has felt the employees had done a good job running the court and with providing thorough financial data. Having this information will be helpful as the public safety committee conducts its assesment.
Munroe Falls Finance Director Karen Reynolds added the mayor’s court operation is “really efficient,” and added “I know things are running smoother.”
One reason for the increased level of efficiency is that the software system is now being used to its full potential, according to Lisa Hawes, deputy clerk for the administration.
Armstrong added the court employees have done a “remarkable job.”
Markovich said Hawes would provide the public safety committee with the number of cases that heard by the mayor’s court and the number of residents who are using the court.
The mayor's court handled 511 cases in 2017 and 436 cases in 2016, according to mayor's court information posted on the Ohio Supreme Court web site.
Overview of finances
In 2018, the mayor’s court had $83,353 in revenues and $37,865 in expenses, yielding a net income of $45,488, according to a report provided by Reynolds. In 2017, the court took in $81,166 in revenues and and had $39,911 in expenses, posting a net income of $39,911.
Armstrong noted that the court fees that offenders would pay in mayor’s court are “far less” than what they would pay in municipal court.
About the court
Carolyn Burdette is the Clerk of Court, George Pappas is the magistrate and Tom DiCaudo is the prosecutor for the mayor’s court. Court is in session every Thursday at 4 p.m. on the second level of city hall, 43 Munroe Falls Ave.
Cuyahoga Falls also has a mayor’s court that was opened in 2009, and operates inside its municipal building at 2310 Second St.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.