Two candidates each are vying for Youngstown clerk of courts and municipal court judge

2 also vying for municipal court judge vacancy

By David Skolnick


City Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark faces a challenge for her seat from Dario Hunter, a Youngstown school board member, while two candidates seek to fill the municipal court judicial seat being vacated by Robert Milich.

Hunter described the clerk’s office as overstaffed. If elected, he said he would look at reducing the number of employees after doing evaluations. Those evaluations, he said, would be done by himself and an outside consulting firm.

But he wouldn’t say how many positions he’d eliminate until after that review is done.

“This process will result in definite cuts, but I won’t say how many would be cut because I don’t want to go into a process with a preconceived decision,” Hunter said.

The clerk’s office has 27 full-time workers and two part-timers, said Brown-Clark.

Clerk since January 2000, Brown-Clark said of Hunter: “I’m not sure he understands what the job entails.”

The office runs effectively with the staff it has, she said.

“I disagree we’re overstaffed,” Brown-Clark said. “We are a well-organized machine.”

Brown-Clark said she’s running for re-election “because I believe I had the temperament, values, understanding and professional experience to continue making improvements to meet the future demands and challenges of the” job.

She added this would be her last term as clerk if elected.

Hunter said he has “the legal education and experience to manage an office that will take its proper place in an effective, efficient judicial system.”

The judicial race pits Carla Baldwin, a Mahoning County Juvenile Court magistrate who won the Democratic primary, against Mark Hanni, a defense attorney.

Judge Milich cannot run for another term because of the state’s age limit on judges.

Baldwin said, “The perception of people in the community [is] there isn’t an equal administration of justice. I will assure people that [the court] will be fair.”

People won’t get “preferential treatment or be disfavored because of their race, gender or financial status,” she added.

Baldwin said she also wants to reduce recidivism.

“This is accomplished by asking why an individual is before the court and caring enough to listen to the answer,” she said. “That answer will be used to craft sentencing orders that appropriately punish the offender and support the goal of behavior modification.”

Hanni said he would “be a lot tougher on crime than the judges are now,” and “people that commit crimes, repeat offenders, I’m going to put in jail.”

He added: “I believe I have the temperament, toughness and experience to be a judge in the city of Youngstown.”

Hanni wants to add night court for minor traffic cases such as speeding and not wearing seat belts to not only make it more convenient for those with those tickets, but also to limit the exposure of those defendants to criminals in court for more serious offenses.