The Akron Bar Association has added its voice to the discussion of whether Summit County should add a second juvenile judge. State Rep. Anthony DeVitis sparked the debate with a surprising addition to the House version of a proposed state budget. The bar association rightly advised that the Ohio Senate remove the proposal, allowing time for a full assessment, including an evaluation by the Ohio Supreme Court, following the path usually taken in such matters.
Best for state Sens. Tom Sawyer, an Akron Democrat, and Frank LaRose, a Copley Township Republican, to make the excision together.
In one way, DeVitis, a Green Republican, broke with the established thinking of his caucus, proposing to add a layer of local government when his allies, including Gov. John Kasich, have been pressing local officials to do more with less.
As it is, DeVitis argues that he is trying to address a problem, having heard from the Summit County Foster Parent Association about slow decision-making by the juvenile court. Judge Linda Teodosio, in response, has noted the complexity of some cases, interests on several sides, a premium, understandably, on holding families intact, if circumstances come together.
That can take time, and so should the decision about adding a juvenile judge receive careful consideration. By many accounts, Judge Teodosio runs a model court. The addition of a judge carries costs to a county already squeezing to make ends meet. What is merited is a thorough look, along the lines well established, markers set for evaluating the need. In other words, this isn’t a decision to hustle through a state budget, many folks at home caught off guard by a state lawmaker.