WILMINGTON — Reconfigure was the “Word of the Day” Monday as commissioners showed courthouse spaces to an architect and interior designer who may be retained to provide expertise to relocate the Adult Probation Department and the Public Defender’s Office.
Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed said professional experts can reconfigure office spaces in the way that best utilizes the courthouse infrastructure that’s already in place. Moreover, spending some money on design services can reduce the cost to remodel, said Steed.
The walk-throughs Monday on the first floor of the courthouse will be followed by interviews with the Clinton County Common Pleas judge, the head of the Adult Probation Department, and the public defender. Those interviews will tell the professional designers about the functions and work flows of the Adult Probation and Public Defender staffs so the offices can be tailored to the operations.
Clinton County Commissioners President Patrick Haley said feedback in the interviews may be of the sort that “we need this or we need that,” but it will be commissioners who will have the final say on any new expenditures.
After staff with Casler Design Group, out of Blue Ash, obtains more information, then the firm will offer a projected cost of its design services for the spaces in question. Those spaces are the current Board of Elections (BOE) offices — the BOE is expected to move to the County Annex Building — and the current Adult Probation area, which has been proposed as the new location for the public defender’s staff.
Both the Adult Probation and the public defender staffs need private meeting space to accommodate the workings of their offices, said Steed. To save on remodeling costs, he asked the Casler professionals to have their designs, if possible, steer away from any moving or adding of HVAC units or lighting.
In a separate appointment Monday, commissioners met with Clinton County Auditor Terence “Terry” Habermehl and Clinton County Chief Deputy Auditor Donyel Riley. Commissioners had asked to meet with Habermehl following his recent additional appropriation request.
Habermehl told commissioners the same thing he said in a News Journal interview — he advised commissioners last fall of his plan to seek an additional appropriation during 2018 once he received final numbers on the amount of carryover dollars in the real estate fund in the aftermath of large expenditures to conduct property revaluations.
Commissioners approved the additional appropriation Monday for the auditor’s office budget.
Previously, Habermehl had sought public records in an effort to see how commissioners dealt with similar requests last year from other county department heads for additional funds, in view of commissioners asking to meet with him following his request for non-General Fund dollars. But Monday the auditor said he no longer seeks such public records.
After the meeting with commissioners, Habermehl told the News Journal one reason the records request is canceled is he has seen some of the information he needed.
Habermehl added, “At this point I don’t see anything positive from forcing the issue. They’ve asked Andrew [the county’s legal counsel Andrew McCoy] to look at it and he’s got better things to do than mediate a dispute between offices. So at this point, I just think that it’s just best to let it go.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.