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Seneca County, Ohio

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Location of Seneca County

Seneca County, Ohio is one of eighty-eight counties in Ohio. Tiffin is its county seat. The county's population was 58,683 as of the 2000 census, a decline of several thousand from the 1980 census of 61,901.

Governance

Seneca County has:

  • Three county commissioners, who are in charge of the budget, zoning, annexations, overallpolicy and oversight of departments.
  • County auditor: Values property for taxation; issues dog, kennel, and cigarette licenses; issues licenses for retailers for sales tax purposes; inspects scales, pumps, etc., used in commerce to see that they are accurate
  • County clerk of court of common pleas: Keeps filings of lawsuits and orders of the county Court of Common Pleas Court of Common Pleas; issues and records titles for motor vehicles.
  • County coroner: Determines causes of death in certain cases; is the only person with the power to arrest the sheriff.
  • County engineer.
  • Prosecuting attorney: Prosecutes felonies and is the legal advisor to all other county officials and departments
  • County recorders: Keeps all land records, including deeds, surveys, mortgages, easements, and liens.
  • County treasurer: Collects taxes, invests county money, provide financial oversight to municipalities and school districts in the county
  • County sheriff: Chief law enforcement officer, polices areas without local police; runs the county jail; acts as officer of the local courts (transporting prisoners, serving subpoenas, acting as bailiff, etc.)

All of these officials are elected to four-year terms in November of even-numbered years after being nominated in partisan primary elections. One commissioner and the auditor are elected in the same year as the governor in one cycle; the other two commissioners and the other officials are elected in the same year as the president of the United States. The clerk, coroner, prosecutor, recorder, and sheriff begin their terms on the first Monday in January. The auditor's term begins on the second Monday in March. The treasurer's term begins on the first Monday in September. The commissioner who is elected with the governor begins his term on January 1. Of the other two seats, one term begins on January 2 and the second on January 3.

Requirements to serve

Any citizen of Ohio and the United States who is 18 years of age or older and lives in the county may run for commissioner, auditor, treasurer, clerk of courts, or recorder. The other offices have specific additional requirements: candidates for prosecutor must be licensed to practice law; candidates for coroner must be licensed to practice medicine for two years; candidates for engineer must be both licensed surveyors and engineers; and candidates for sheriff must have certain education and have supervisory experience in law enforcement

Commissioners

As of December 2008, the three county commissioners are President David G. Sauber, Sr., Vice President Benjamin E. Nutter, and Commissioner Michael A. Bridinger.

David Sauber
Benjamin Nutter
Michael Bridinger

Website evaluation

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Budget N
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Meetings
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Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials P
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Permits, zoning N
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Audits
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Contracts N
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Lobbying N
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Transparency grading process


The good

  • The names of all county commissioners are listed[1] with contact information.[2]
  • County commissioner meeting agendas and minutes are published.[3]
  • A few Administrative officials are listed with contact information.[4].
  • Information on public records is provided.[5]
  • Local tax information is provided.[6]
  • Audit reports are published.[7]

The bad

  • Individual contact information for county commissioners is not provided.
  • No budget information is posted.
  • There is no information on building permits.
  • No information on zoning.
  • No information on vendor contracts.
  • No information on whether or not the county pays dues to lobbying associations.

Ohio Supreme Court ruling

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in early December 2008 that the commissioners are required to scour the county computer's harddrive for e-mails pertaining to discussions they had about demolishing the courthouse in Tiffin. The Toledo Blade requested the e-mails in 2007. The e-mails they received in response to their request caused the newspaper to believe that not all relevant e-mails had been surrendered in response to the paper's request. A lawsuit was filed and ultimately the Supreme Court ordered the county to conduct a forensic examination of its computer hard drives to rescue any deleted e-mails.[8]

External links

References