Election 2012: Clerk candidates Quilter, Stamos emphasize technologyWritten by Nate Pentecost | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Incumbent Bernie Quilter and contractor Constantine Stamos are vying to serve as clerk of the court of common pleas in Lucas County.
The clerk is responsible for appellate, civil, felony criminal and domestic relation court filings.
Quilter, a Democrat, cited the pilot program the clerk’s office began with the Ohio Attorney General in 2009 as an accomplishment. The program permits Lucas County to use the attorney general’s resources to collect delinquent fines and court costs. Over the past three years, the office collected more than $700,000 in debts through the partnership.
“We’re willing to team up with other parts of government to move forward,” Quilter said. “We’re one of the leading clerk of courts offices in the State of Ohio, and others turn to us for advice and get ideas from what we’re doing.”
Quilter received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Toledo. Before taking office, Quilter was employed by Toledo Edison.
Prior to becoming clerk of court of common pleas, he served two terms as an Oregon city councilman. He was elected in 1995 and re-elected in 1997. Quilter was appointed clerk of courts in April 1999. He was elected to a full term in 2000 and has served three full terms.
Quilter said he is particularly proud of a development that occurred during his second term. In 2006, the clerk of courts’ office opened the Lucas County Imaging Lab, the first of its kind in Ohio and one of the first nationwide.
Partnering with Lott Industries, an employer of individuals with developmental disabilities, Quilter’s office back-filed document images for county agencies while giving work experience to people with disabilities.
“We put people behind computers who were normally considered unable to,” Quilter said. “We showed that they can and we saved the county millions of dollars.”
The clerk’s office is currently working on developing a bid for a new case management system, which would merge the individual systems currently serving the divisions of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas. A successful bid would make the court largely paperless, Quilter said.
Stamos, a Republican, said he has become well-acquainted with Lucas County’s political sphere in recent years.
He was a candidate for an at-large Toledo City Council seat in 2009, finishing out of the top six elected from a field of 12 candidates.
While the Toledo native originally intended to challenge incumbent Democratic County Commissioner Pete Gerken in the upcoming election, Stamos was not certified to ballot because his petition lacked a page bearing his original signature. He said he believes the document with his signature was misplaced by a board of elections employee.
When Republican Hans Schnapp pulled out of the Lucas County Clerk of Court of Common Pleas race, Stamos said he saw a new opportunity to represent his party and serve the community.
“Lucas County has been stagnant for some time and I think part of it is the leadership we have,” Stamos said. “I want to be one of the faces of change that will bring improvement to our area.”
Stamos received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and philosophy from the University of Toledo.
After completing Ohio real estate prelicensing coursework at Owens Community College, Stamos worked for eight years as a licensed real estate agent, focusing on residential homes. Currently, he is a contractor at U.S. Coatings, a specialty coating contracting company.
Stamos said his experience keeping records and handling legal documents as a real estate agent and preparing budgets and company projects as a contractor will be valuable if he is elected clerk of court.
Of improvements that could be made to the position, he said, “I think it could definitely use some technological modernization. The website could be made more accessible to the user. A lot of people aren’t entirely aware of the services available to them and I believe I can help provide those things at a good value to the taxpayer.”