How County Government Works

COUNTY POWERS

County government does not possess home rule authority. That is to say, county officials may act only when and as specifically authorized by state law. An 1857 Supreme Court case established a general theory of the status of counties which is still relevant today. The court stated:

“Counties are local subdivisions of a state, created by the sovereign power of the state, of its own will, without the particular solicitation, consent, or concurrent action of the people who inhabit them…. With scarcely an exception, all powers and functions of the county organization have a direct and exclusive reference to the general policy of the state, and are, in fact, but a branch of the general administration of that policy. (Hamilton County v Mighels, OS 109).”

AUDITOR

Terence Habermehl, Auditor
Email: Habermehl.Terence@clintoncountyohio.us

46 S. South St.
Wilmington ,OH 45177-2296
Phone: 937-382-2250
Fax: 937-382-4090

Auditor – ORC Chapter 319

The county auditor is the only elected official, aside from the one commissioner, that is elected in the gubernatorial election year. All other county elected officials are elected in the presidential election year. If the commissioners do not appoint a clerk, the auditor is, by statute, the clerk of the board of county commissioners.

The auditor is the chief fiscal officer of the county. As the county’s chief fiscal officer, the auditor has the responsibility to keep the official record of all county government receipts and disbursements. The auditor is a very important office from the perspective of county commissioners because it is the responsibility of the office to certify to the commissioners an estimate of available revenue that they may appropriate for county agencies and departments. When the county makes a purchase or enters into a contract, the auditor must certify that funds are available or in the process of collection from the appropriate account. This assures that no agency spends more than the commissioners appropriate for various purposes.

In addition, the auditor issues warrants to pay county bills, and serves as the “paymaster” for all county employees. The auditor prepares a detailed annual report of all revenue and expenditures by fund under rules of the state auditor.

Another major responsibility of the auditor relates to the administration of Ohio’s property tax law. As the appraiser of real property, the auditor must assure that every parcel of land and buildings and improvements are fairly and uniformly appraised and then assessed for tax purposes. The auditor directs a general reappraisal of real property every six years with an update being performed during the third year after the reappraisal.

CLERK OF COURTS

Cynthia R. Bailey, Clerk of Courts
Email: cbailey@clintoncountycourts.org

46 S. South Street
3rd floor Courthouse
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: 937-382-2316
Fax: 937-383-3455

Clerk of Courts – ORC Chapter 2303

The principal duty of the clerk of courts is to keep journals, records, books, and the papers pertaining to the court of common pleas and the court of appeals. The clerk’s responsibilities involve not only the filing, docketing, indexing, and preserving of all pleadings, but also with arriving at decisions regarding the procedures required by law and the issuance of writs including summons and subpoenas.

The clerk of courts is also responsible for issuing titles for motor vehicles and watercraft. As a part of this responsibility the clerk collects the sales tax on automobiles and remits this money to the state. In this regard, the clerk also issues memorandum copies of titles, duplicates, notations of licenses on vehicles and watercraft and fees associated with these responsibilities.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

Mary Ann Foland, County Administrator
Email: Foland.MaryAnn@clintoncountyohio.us

Mike McCarty, Commissioner
McCarty.Mike@clintoncountyohio.us

Brenda K. Woods, Commissioner
Woods.Brenda@clintoncountyohio.us

Kerry R. Steed, Commissioner
Steed.Kerry@clintoncountyohio.us

46 S. South Street
Suite 213
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: 937-382-2103
Fax: 937-383-2884

Board of County Commissioners – ORC Chapters 305 and 307

All Ohio counties organized under the general statutory law have three county commissioners, two being elected at the time of the presidential election and one at the time of the gubernatorial election. The county commissioner elected at the gubernatorial election takes office on January 1st, and the two elected at the presidential election take office on January 2nd and 3rd. Candidates for these two commissioner positions must file for either the January 2 or 3 position (ORC 305.01).

County commissioners make up the general administrative body for county government. As indicated above, they can perform those duties which are specifically authorized by the General Assembly and no more. They are the county government taxing, budgeting, appropriating, and purchasing authority. They hold title to county property. Individual commissioners have no power to act independently. All formal and official actions must be taken by the board of county commissioners acting as a body by majority or unanimous vote.

Commissioners also have a myriad of other responsibilities including hearing and ruling on annexations, approving drainage improvements through the petition ditch process, establishing water and sewer districts and making improvements, and providing for solid waste disposal.

CORONER

Dr. Ronald G. Seaman, Coroner
Solo, Arlene - Administrative Assistant
Email: soto.arlene@clintoncountyohio.us

180 E. Sugartree Street
Wilmington, OH 45177

Coroner – ORC Chapter 313

The coroner is an important part of the criminal and civil justice system. The coroner has the responsibility to investigate the cause of any death resulting from criminal or violent means, accidents, or in other situations where someone in good health dies, or where a death is suspicious or unusual. In auto accidents resulting in a fatality, the coroner must determine the blood alcohol content of the person killed in the accident.

The coroner works with law enforcement agencies and the county prosecutor in preparing cases for trial; may conduct inquests to ascertain the exact cause of death; performs autopsies, x-rays, toxicology tests; and often testifies as an expert witness on the cause and manner of death in court. Larger county coroners maintain morgues with professional pathologists to conduct autopsies, as well as laboratory facilities. These services are often utilized on a fee basis by smaller counties.

ENGINEER

Jeff Linkous, P.E., P.S., County Engineer
Email: jlinkous@clintoncountyengineer.org

1326 Fife Avenue
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: (937) 382-2078
Fax: (937) 382-5318

County Engineer – ORC Chapter 315

The county engineer is the county’s surveyor and civil engineer. The primary duty of the county engineer is to plan, design, construct, and maintain the county road system, including county bridges. The engineer also has responsibility for township bridges and for bridges within municipalities on through routes. Unlike most other county elected officials' offices, the engineer is primarily funded with dedicated motor vehicle license and gasoline taxes.

The engineer is also responsible for maintaining the auditor’s tax maps including reviewing deeds, land transfers, lot splits, and annexation petitions for proper boundary descriptions.

PROSECUTOR

Andrew T. McCoy, Prosecuting Attorney
Email: AMccoy@clintonctyprosecutor.com

103 E. Main st.
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: 937-382-4559

Prosecuting Attorney – ORC Chapter 309

The prosecuting attorney is the county’s criminal and civil attorney. While the prosecutor is best known to the public for prosecuting criminal actions in the name of the state, the office is also critical to county government because it is the legal advisor to the board of county commissioners and to “the board of elections, and all other county officers and boards…..” (ORC 309.09). The office also represents libraries, townships, and county school districts (ORC 3313.35) with the exception of city school districts. These civil responsibilities include the rendering of opinions, prosecuting and defending the county or agency, and the review and approval as to form of all contracts.

The prosecutor of the most populous county comprising a joint vocational school district also represents the district. A county prosecutor also has the responsibility to prosecute all juvenile cases including child neglect, dependency, and abuse along with juvenile felony, misdemeanor, and even traffic violations.

RECORDER

Tanya Day, Recorder
Email: Day.Tanya@clintoncountyohio.us

46 S. South Street
Suite 222
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: 937-382-2067
Fax: 937.382.8097

Recorder – ORC Chapter 317

The county recorder is the county’s official keeper of records. The function of the office is to provide protection to persons and property by recording a variety of legally essential documents. Many of the instruments recorded by the county recorder relate to real estate transactions.

The recorder accepts for recording deeds, mortgages, mechanic liens, powers of attorney, recognizance bonds, Internal Revenue Service liens, corporate franchise liens, partnerships and other instruments.

SHERIFF

Sheriff Ralph D. Fizer, Jr.
 Prickett, Brain
- Chief Deputy
Email: BLPrickett@clintonsheriff.com

1645 Davids Drive
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: (937) 382-1611
Fax: (937) 382-7530

The sheriff is the county’s chief law enforcement officer, with duties to maintain the peace, operate the jail, attend the courts, investigate crimes and execute processes.

TREASURER

Jason F. Walt, Treasurer
Email: waltjf@clintoncountyohio.us

46 S. South Street
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: 937-382-2224
Fax: 937-382-3742

The treasurer is the county’s banker. This office has custody of the county’s money from the time it is collected, invests county funds, and redeems county warrants issued by the auditor.

The treasurer bills and collects taxes on real and personal property, manufactured homes, estate taxes, and vendors and cigarette licenses.