Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Friday the appointment of William C. Randolph as the new judge for Hillsboro Municipal Court.
Randolph, a Hillsboro resident, will assume office on April 18, 2022, and will take the seat formerly held by Judge David McKenna, who retired effective Oct. 31, 2022.
McKenna’s term expires at the end of 2023.
If Randolph wants to remain in the position after that time, he will have to run for election in 2023 for the full term, which commences Jan. 1, 2024.
Randolph has more than 25 years of legal experience and has been an assistant prosecuting attorney with Clinton County since 1996. He has practiced in both criminal court and the juvenile division.
For the last 10 years Randolph has held the title of legal director with the Clinton County Department of Job and Family Services. He is currently counsel for the Highland County Water Company.
Randolph received his law degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law, and an undergraduate degree from Wilmington College.
He is a past president of the Clinton County Bar Association and an alumnus of the Sigma Zeta Fraternity.
Local officials have voiced recent concern over the amount of time it took for the governor’s office to appoint a full-time replacement in Hillsboro. In the interim, the judicial duties at the court have been temporarily assumed by other judges from a list of potential assigned judges complied by the Ohio Supreme Court. They have included Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss, judge William McCracken, and Highland County Court Judge Robert Judkins.
Highland County Probation Department Director of Programming and Clinical Services Tonya Sturgill said recently that the judicial vacancy impacted her department.
“Our agency is 80 percent grant-funded here at the office, and some of those goals are determined by how many people are put on probation, obviously because the state isn’t going to give us money if we’re not supervising offenders in the community,” she previously said. “So, for the first time in my 12 years of being here, we didn’t meet that goal this quarter.”
Sturgill said local referrals to other organizations such as FRS and the Alternatives to Violence Center have also decreased as a result of the vacancy.
Three of the probation department’s grants, along with other goals, are tied directly to the number of people placed on probation.
“When I was doing the quarterly reports, that’s when it really became apparent to me that this is making a huge difference,” said Sturgill.
An email from the Highland County Criminal Justice Advisory Board inquiring about the vacancy was sent to Ohio Governor’s Office Chief Counsel Matthew Donahue on March 10.
“This vacancy is creating undue and unnecessary stress on the local agencies that work alongside the courts when it comes to meeting grant goals which secure funding sources for the services they provide,” the email stated. “Referrals are at an all-time low and our valuable community resources, which we have worked hard to build and procure, are not being utilized. This in turn has had a direct impact on the health and safety of our community at a time when we are already stretched thin from two years of dealing with COVID and too many years of fighting the opiate epidemic.”
Some information for this story was submitted by the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.