By RYAN DUNN
OTTAWA — Putnam County’s prosecutor is trying to unseat the county’s probate and juvenile court judge in the May primary election.
Prosecutor Gary Lammers is competing with Judge Michael Borer in the Democratic primary.
The primary winner is likely to get the job. No Republicans are running. Independent candidates have until May 5 to file for the November general election.
Borer and Lammers both cite a sense of fairness they would bring to the bench.
Borer, 53, of Ottawa, said he listens to each person entering his court and works to leave a positive impact.
“You have to put personal bias and prejudice aside, decide each case on its own merits, not based on any preconceived notion, or your personal point of view,” he said.
Borer is a 1978 graduate of Ottawa-Glandorf High School. He later graduated from the University of Toledo for both undergraduate studies and law school.
He had a private legal practice in Ottawa starting in 1987.
Former Gov. Ted Strickland appointed Borer as judge in 2011, and Borer was elected in 2012 to complete that term. He is now running for a full six-year term.
Borer said one large area of concern is the lack of funding to tackle mental health problems.
“There simply is not enough money being devoted to identifying and addressing mental health issues from childhood to adulthood,” Borer said.
Paying for adequate treatment is difficult. A detainment center that also provides mental health treatment can cost $300 per day, he said.
Among Borer’s accomplishments are implementing court programs to improve the grades and job applications of juveniles on probation. Borer said he also has increased child support collections, and returned more than $200,000 from his appropriated budget to the county’s general fund.
Prosecutor Lammers, 50, is a 1982 graduate of Ottawa-Glandorf High School, before graduating from Ohio State University and Ohio Northern University College of Law.
From 1990 to 2000, Lammers was a Putnam County assistant prosecutor, handling all juvenile and dependency cases.
That experience gave him an important familiarity with the system, he said.
“The court system has become such a part of my natural makeup and daily routine that it is a part of who I am, and this position would help further my continuing desire to serve the public and give back to my community,” he said.
Lammers said he would like to bring technological advances to the court. He suggested allowing electronic filing and more paperless work.
“I believe this is a change that is not too far away, as many other courts have already started this process and it is something we may need to undertake,” he said.
Lammers said the most pressing problem facing the court concerns substance abuse and mental health.
He said he would continue networking with social service providers to help families.
The judge position pays $121,350 per year, according to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Two other Putnam County candidates are unopposed in the primary.
County Commissioner John Love, of 228 N. Locust St., Ottawa, is running for the Democratic nomination. The position pays $40,888 per year.
Auditor Robert Benroth, 7728 Road O, Ottawa, is campaigning on the Republican ticket. He earns $56,256 per year.
Neither man has an opponent, but independent candidates could still file.
Separately, Brookhill Center is proposing an additional levy to support those with developmental disabilities and for building maintenance.
The 1.6-mill levy would last 10 years. If passed, the owner of a home appraised at $100,000 would pay about $56 per year. The levy would collect about $1.18 million annually, according to the Putnam County Auditor’s Office.
Residents in portions of Putnam County will help decide school levies.
The McComb School District is asking voters to renew a 0.5 percent income tax for five years.
Voters in the Patrick Henry School District are being asked to replace a 1.9-mill permanent improvement levy. The new levy would be continuous.
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