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Published: Wednesday, 10/29/2003

Gabriel for clerk of court

The Toledo Clerk of Municipal Court's office continues to show the improvement that marked the tenure of former clerk Maggie Thurber, now a county commissioner. The steady progress in that office is convincing enough to retain Theresa Gabriel as the Toledo Municipal Clerk of Court.

Ms. Gabriel, 66, a Republican, has four decades of experience as an administrator.

In her 10 months in the clerk's job, she has initiated disciplinary measures to ensure that employees are at work, and on time, and she has reduced the turn-around time for scanning records into the computer system from 31/2 days to 24 hours. Not bad, considering that with 92 employees, her office handles hundreds of cases a day.

Plus, she has put in place programs that encourage individuals to pay outstanding municipal court debts. Individuals who owe fines and court costs can't renew their driver's licenses and vehicle registrations. Her initiatives have helped fatten city coffers by almost $500,000, a nice windfall in tough times.

Her opponent is endorsed Democrat Vallie Bowman-English, a Lucas County assistant prosecutor. Ms. Bowman-English, 33, has achieved several felony convictions in seven years as a prosecutor, and she shows promise as a public servant who could some day serve Toledo well as an elected official.

But at this point there's no reason to replace Ms. Gabriel. She has worked for eight mayors. She retired from the city's Department of Recreation and Forestry and then was appointed clerk of court. She has served on numerous local, state, and national boards, including the Ohio Youth Commission, Economic Opportunity Planning Association, and she was president of the Toledo Chapter of the NAACP.

Ms. Gabriel has demonstrated the knowledge and experience needed to see that the clerk's office maintains records and operates efficiently. She is entitled to complete Ms. Thurber's unexpired term.

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