State law makers push for court consolidation in Youngstown - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

State law makers push for court consolidation in Youngstown

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Local state lawmakers are proposing legislation that would eliminate a municipal court judge's seat in Youngstown.

It's been less than a week since the Mahoning County Bar Association concluded the court could operate efficiently with just two judges instead of three.

The bar association cited a drop in court filings and the city's population for its decision.

On Monday, State Representatives Bob Hagan and Ron Gerberry were joined by State Senator Joe Schiavoni to detail their plans to remove the third seat by introducing a new bill as early as Tuesday.

"We're going to reduce it down to two. We're going to save a tremendous amount of money," Hagan said.

The third seat has been vacant since Judge Robert Douglas retired. Fifty three thousand dollars of his $149,000 salary was covered by the city of Youngstown.

All three officials insist that isn't about politics, rather, the bottom line. "It's about doing what's right for the taxpayer and I think people should be applauding what we're doing," Gerberry said.

Municipal Court Judge Elizabeth Kolby says she's in favor of what will benefit the court. "We've had a difficult time scheduling not knowing whether the seat's going to be filled, not going to be filled. It's been a bit of a nightmare here for us," Judge Kolby said.

Representative Hagan says the plan is to introduce the bill on Tuesday, hold hearings as early as next week, with final votes on the state house and senate floors by mid-December.

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