In December 2012, Lisa Zeno Carano stepped down as the clerk of the Stow Municipal Court, setting off a lively three-way battle to fill the rest of her term, which expires in December 2015.
The appointed incumbent is Diana Colavecchio, a lawyer and former member of the Cuyahoga Falls City Council. She is being challenged by Kevin Coughlin, a former state senator who filed as a nonpartisan, and Frank Larson, the mayor of Munroe Falls since 2004.
We recommend the election of Diana Colavecchio on Nov. 5.
With more than 20 years of legal experience, Colavecchio understands how the courts work. Since taking over the clerk’s office in January, she has grasped the challenges, especially to improve computer technology.
She already is moving in the right direction, implementing online payments. She also has worked with the court’s two judges to increase the clerk’s technology fee, necessary to build a surplus for future upgrades. Appointed by the county Democratic Party, Colavecchio has shown welcome independence in filling vacancies in her 17-person staff, a commitment she must not let slide.
As a member of the Ohio Senate, Coughlin worked with Stow Municipal Court Judge Kim Hoover to move the court from Cuyahoga Falls. Coughlin, too, sees the need for the court to modernize information systems. As a consultant, he currently is updating technology use and office management at the Ohio State Dental Board.
Coughlin argues he would work well with Hoover, a political ally since they unsuccessfully battled to oust Alex Arshinkoff as the Summit County Republican Party chairman. Coughlin holds that as an independent Republican, he would make the clerk’s office a “politics-free zone.” Still, concern lingers about an ambitious politician, minus the helpful legal experience of his opponent, looking primarily for a place to land.
Larson, who ran for county executive as a Republican in 2012, points to bringing fiscal order to Munroe Falls. He pledges to do the same for the court, which covers 16 communities in northern Summit County.