Cleveland State University, B.A.
Cleveland Marshall College of law, J.D.
Assistant Law Director
Qualifications for office
A combined 24 years of experience as an assistant law director and prosecutor.
During my 17 years as an assistant law director, I have been responsible for the city’s legal defense in all aspects, including trial and appellate phases of civil litigation. My duties include essentially all of the city’s litigation, mostly as lead attorney. My litigation assignments are primarily defense of suits relating to public construction, public employment, personal injury claims and defense of police in Federal Section 1983 Civil Rights (excessive force, etc.) claims in state and federal court.
My defense litigation cases specifically include: Pylypiv v. City of Parma (December 1, 2005) Cuy. App. No. 85995 (wrongful death); Pesta v. City of Parma (Oct. 10, 2010) Cuy. App. No. 94395, 2010-Ohio-4897 (wrongful death); Riscatti v. City of Parma (dismissed March 24, 2017) Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas Case No. 714827 (90 plaintiff mass tort claim).
Primarily, the mayor enters contracts on behalf of the city. The law director advises on the legal aspects and requirements of contracts. Many cities, including Westlake, use both law department counsel and outside legal counsel to negotiate labor and major construction contracts. I have been involved in both negotiation and litigation of employment, labor, and construction contract bargaining and disputes.
I have prosecuted hundreds of cases at both the felony and misdemeanor levels for a combined 24 years. I have tried more than 200 criminal cases to a jury.
As a prosecutor: experience, fairness and good judgement. I will also carry on my work using professional conduct and good temperament. Claiming to be "tough on crime" is cliche. While politically expedient, it is actually not an ethically and professionally responsible statement. Of course, as a prosecutor I saw to the convictions of defendants where the facts and circumstances required it. I have never been viewed by judges or colleagues as shying away from prosecution or trial of my criminal cases. Never. However, having prosecuted the most serious cases charged under Ohio Law, including death penalty cases, I have gained the experience and wisdom to know that the most important duties of a prosecutor include following professional ethics and using discretion. It also includes treating people with decency. A prosecutor has a great deal of authority and power to enforce the law. This power should never be abused.
As a law director: specific experience both in and out of the courtroom. I have worked as an assistant law director for 17 years in a city nearly three times the size of Westlake. I have represented police officers, firefighters, mayors, department directors and employees. I believe my specific case experience speaks for itself.
B.S. Communication Ohio University
Juris Doctorate Cleveland Marshall College of Law
Legal Counsel: Ohio Patrolmens Benevolent Association, statewide law enforcement union.
Qualifications for office
Attorney 24 years, Assistant County Prosecutor, Assistant Ohio Attorney General, Westlake Assistant Law Director, County Clerk of Courts, Counsel to the OPBA, Admitted to practice in all Ohio courts and Federal District Court.
As an Assistant Ohio Attorney General, I represented the State Employment Relations Board & the Wage and Hour Division. Both required the analysis and proper application of contract language. This representation encompassed litigation at the agency level, and state and appellate courts throughout the State of Ohio. As an Assistant County Prosecutor under Steve LaTourette, I first worked in the civil division where the drafting of and litigation involving contracts was a large part of the workload. As a civil attorney for the county prosecutor, I advised several branches of the county government on a variety of legal issues.
When Mayor Dennis Clough first hired me at the City of Westlake, I was responsible for employment law and human resource issues. In this position, I drafted policies and initiated and coordinated new programs involving workers compensation, equal employment and open records. On the occasion there was a labor dispute between the City and the unions, I would analyze the existing contract and work to resolve the issue. As the Westlake Assistant Law Director and Prosecutor, I was responsible for all aspects of criminal cases. Investigations, search warrants, charging, trials, appeals. I brought the City in compliance with the victim rights statute and made an effort to recover full restitution.
I represented the City of Westlake on civil cases, working with insurance defense counsel as well as in employment arbitration cases and EEOC claims. My municipal experience at Lakewood and Westlake allowed me the opportunity to work with the Mayors, directors & council in a variety of ways including obtaining grants, writing ordinances and drafting policies. As the County Clerk of Courts, fiscal responsibility and accountability to the taxpayers was paramount. I oversaw a budget of 11 million dollars and a staff of 125 people. In two years, I and my staff developed practical solutions to longstanding problems and eliminated waste using common sense, belief in accountability and best practices. Millions of dollars was found and properly allocated, 7 million of it returned to the citizens. Office processes were updated allowing the public first ever access to records & electronic filing was established. Currently I serve as counsel to a law enforcement union. Everyday, literally everyday, I work with contracts, drafting, analyzing and litigating. My husband & I have lived in Westlake for 21 years and from the get go-involvement in Westlake has been an integral part of who I am. Westlake residents know my track record as a passionately engaged citizen on school board, PTA, a volunteer magistrate in the Westlake Juvenile Diversion Program & Assistant Director of Law. My ties are to Westlake, not special interests.