The upcoming March primary elections will include a run from Cindy Carpenter, hoping for yet another fourth term in office as clerk of courts for Butler County.
Entering the world of politics 12 years ago in the very same position, Carpenter is a Fairfield, Ohio native but has been enjoying settling into her new home in Oxford since this past June.
“I have lived in several communities in Butler County and I just love Oxford,” she said.
Carpenter explained that she desires more time in office due to the fact that she is still in the middle of some significant projects, such as a criminal justice information project, which she explained is very important for Butler County because the criminal database has never before been integrated. This means that the system will incorporate shared information from other agencies in order to better track and properly address past unlawful records.
In a recent scenario, Carpenter said that a past rape charge was discovered about a potential foster parent. For Carpenter, a mother herself, this project is extremely valuable.
More duties as clerk of courts for Carpenter include motor vehicle titling, filing notary notifications and managing the juries. Carpenter said that she also processes tax work for the U.S. Department of State.
“We collect and distribute fees, over $50 million, to various agencies,” she said.
Carpenter also said that she and her employees are currently in their fourth year of archiving.
“We are working with our prosecutor and commissioners who have funded our project to put all the clerk records in an electronic form available on the Internet,” Carpenter said.
This falls under one of Carpenter’s main duties as clerk of courts. She is required to maintain the court, as well as an emergency backup system in case of accident.
“That’s my charge,” she said. “I assume responsibility for all of them.”
Carpenter is also very focused on the issue of privacy in court records.
“We are also moving forward to implement a product that automatically reacts as a security number,” she said. “We’re working legislatively to prohibit the security numbers or other private information from being a part of the private record.”
This other information includes dates of birth, bank account numbers and other personal information.
“Our legislative committee’s last discussion on this issue left it on the table until the Supreme Court’s subcommittee on privacy adopts a policy,” Carpenter said. “We are still waiting.”
Carpenter is involved with the community more than just through acting as clerk of courts. She is recognized as an advocate for Ohio’s Medically Fragile Children, a program that was originally founded under the Federal Medicaid Waiver Programs in the late 1980s, which has since rolled into the Ohio Home Care Waivers, explained Carpenter.
“Often middle class families reach the maximum that their medical insurance companies will pay and lose their insurance,” Carpenter said. “In Butler County, most of our office holders refer families in that situation to me. In each case, I work with the families to file appeals or reapply to other programs. I also help families with similar disabilities network together.”
She also served as an Ohio Legal Rights Services Commissioner, a governing board member for the federally mandated protection and advocacy agency for Ohio’s disabled population.
“Some of our duties included reviewing class actions suits, setting the annual budget, developing plans for the distribution of educational materials and working for a single point of entry into the system when a disabled child is born,” Carpenter said.
This holds immediate importance for Carpenter, who has a disabled daughter living at home.
Carpenter is on a multitude of different boards and is a part of many organizations. She said that specifically in relation to the clerk of courts, very few of its transactions are independent from any other agency. Her extensive connections to the community are useful for the job.
Jerome Cook, administrator of clerk of courts, has worked with Carpenter for the last three election cycles and only had good things to say about the businesswoman.
“She’s very human and has good common sense,” Cook said.
He said that she is very good in the job due to the genuine care she has for people. “Everyone who comes up for her services has something wrong in their lives and they need somebody to listen a little bit and care about why they’re there,” said Cook.
Cook said that they have been able to have a lot of big projects and meanwhile have managed to be very efficient with their money.
“The Butler County Clerk of Courts Office has collected and distributed over $433 million,” Carpenter said. Since this amount has not been revisited since last October, it is likely that the number is actually closer to $450 million now.
Carpenter briefly mentioned the upcoming primary elections.
“When you file your petitions to run in the primary, there is no exclusion for who could run against me as a Republican,” Carpenter said.
She said that she was endorsed and for whatever reason, she was well respected and her peers were satisfied with her. Carpenter will be running in the upcoming primary elections unopposed as a Republican and will run against Democrat Robert M. Tunnat in the general elections. Tunnat, a Hamilton resident, was unavailable for comment.