Commissioners welcome Marshall Combs


By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Board of Commissioners discussed the petition for annexation acres and the employment of legal council. Commissioners Matt Aultman, Marshall Combs, and Larry Holmes were present.

Attorney Nicole Pohlman spoke to the commissioners about a petition for the annexation of 9.210 acres into the Village of Arcanum. The petition was filed on Dec. 27, and it requested the board to allow the 9.210 acres into the Village of Arcanum.

“As you will see, all the parties involved are in agreement with this annexation,” Pohlman said. “This parcel already creates an island within the village already, so it just makes sense that it gets incorporated into the village.”

The annexation was signed by the village mayor, Twin Twp. trustees and the sole owner of the real estate, Shawn J. and Jenny M. Smith.

R. Kelly Ormsby, III with the Darke County Prosecuting Attorney Office submitted an application to employ legal counsel from Fishel, Downey, Albrecht & Riepenhoff, LLP, Attorneys at Law for matters involving Jessica Walker.

“Essentially this is a request to a law firm in Columbus who would be handling matters related to Jessica Walker. She has had a number of filings, civil and criminal, that we have not been involved in for some time because she was alleging that most everybody in Darke County is prejudiced against her including the prosecutor’s office,” Ormsby said.

He advised there are criminal matters that have been referred out, and Walker has a trial coming up in February that is being handled by the attorney general’s office. Ormsby said this particular matter involving the new law firm, is based on her filing, civilly, a writ of mandamus in the Supreme Court.

“This will be a legal action against one of the Darke County sets of Trustees. We don’t know if this is going to be the last thing she files, so the request is going to be general. It will be asking that firm to be willing to handle all matters involving Walker,” Ormsby said.

Walker is taking legal action against the Butler Twp. Board of Trustees. Her complaint of mandamus was filed in the Supreme Court on Dec. 19 of last year. The Board of Commissioners approved the application to employ legal counsel.

Darke County does not have a Public Defender office, and is required to provide competent legal defense to indigent parties. The Commissioners spoke on establishing a “policy” and “pay scale” for Indigent Defense.

“This isn’t a path I think we anticipated, but I do want to thank the Public Defender Commission for their engagement and involvement to get this to where we are at,” Holmes said.

Aultman advised that since there was agreement reached between the parties, they had to have some sort of pay-scale set for the public defenders.

“The legal system doesn’t stop because we can’t get to a contract,” Aultman said. “We had to have something in place, and this at least sets a standard on pay, so we can keep the system moving.”

Due to the age of the document, the Board of County Commissioners shall update the hourly wages for compensation to Indigent Counsel for Trial Level Proceedings, Appellate Level Proceedings, Juvenile Proceedings, and Post-Conviction & Habeas Corpus Proceedings from $75 per hour to $85 per hour not to exceed the maximum amounts.

“I would note that this commissioner does not plan to entertain or take the initiative to move that process forward. That is in someone else’s court, and if it is not brought forward in a timely manner, it will make alternate arrangements more difficult,” Holmes said.

On a happier note, Commissioners Holmes welcomed Commissioner Marshall Combs to the board as he attended his first Regular Session of his four-year term.

“It is the first of many sessions to come, so I appreciate everybody’s support. I’m glad to finally be here and sitting at the table. It means a lot, and just thank you everyone,” Combs said.

The Darke County Board of Commissioners meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at their office located at 520 S. Broadway Street in Greenville. To contact the office, call 937-547-7370.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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