CAMDEN — A second candidate for Eaton Municipal Court Judge addressed village council during its bi-monthly meeting Thursday, March 18.
Eaton-based attorney Ed Kalil appeared before West Alexandria council earlier this month. Preble County Assistant Prosecutor Gractia Manning – who will also be a candidate for the Republican nomination for Municipal Court Judge during May’s primary election – addressed both councils in February.
Kalil told the council that he has lived and worked in Preble County for over three decades, including working part-time as a Preble County prosecutor and in his own private law practice. Kalil also stated that he has served as a defense attorney, as acting magistrate, and as acting judge in Eaton Municipal Court, experience he believes makes him a good fit for the position.
“I think the only things I haven’t done in that court are bailiff and clerk,” Kalil said.
Kalil outlined several initiatives he plans to pursue, including technology upgrades to support electronic filing of court documents and strengthening the court’s probation department, goals Manning expressed as well. Kalil also discussed establishing a “driver’s license school” for those caught driving illegally.
“A lot of them, it’s possible for them to get their license, but they don’t know how,” Kalil said.
In addition, Kalil wants to make sure low-level drug offenders receive treatment, which he plans to accomplish by working with a state-funded program called Next Level Living.
“The jail fills up fast, and we have to pay for that,” Kalil said, noting that defendants could be evaluated by a drug counselor and go straight from the courtroom to a treatment program.
“This way they don’t have a chance to go out and get high again,” Kalil said. “They give you a place to live for a while, help you get a job, and you pay them back when you get out.”
Kalil, who has family members who have struggled with substance addiction, pointed out that there’s only so much incarceration can do for a defendant.
“I’ve seen them go into jail and out of jail, and nothing changed in their life until they got counseling,” Kalil said. “There has to be something more than just throwing people in jail, or throwing them to the streets.”
Council member Kelly Doran asked Kalil why he wanted to leave his private practice to pursue a judgeship.
“I’ve been complaining about the way things are for a while, and my mom told me to either stop complaining or do something about it,” Kalil said.
Kalil pointed out that defendants often get caught in a cycle of being arrested, then missing a court date or violating probation and being arrested again, in the process accumulating court costs that will cause them to be arrested yet again if they’re unable to pay.
“Once these people get their sleeve caught in the system, they can’t get out,” Doran said.
Council member Debbie Hickman expressed similar sentiments.
“I think it seems like you have a lot of good ideas,” Hickman said.
Also during Thursday’s meeting:
Doran and Mayor Karen Moss briefly discussed developing a five or ten-year plan for the village.
“We need to have our goals outlined of what our priorities are, and what our timeline is going to be,” Moss said.
Doran updated council on planned renovations to the second floor of Camden Town Hall. The village previously completed extensive work on the first floor; planned renovations to the upstairs portion include a meeting space to be rented out for weddings and other events.
Doran said that a cost proposal for the renovations should be ready by council’s April 1 meeting.
“Then it’ll be time to get our financing in place and put the bid out,” Doran said.
Council also discussed plans for a splash pad to be located in a local park. Councilman Jeff Steele questioned whether the project would be a good use of the town’s water supply.
“We catch enough flack about the water prices as it is,” Steele said.
Doran had a different point of view, however.
“I get what you’re saying – it appears wasteful,” Doran said. “But people also complain that there’s not enough for kids to do in town.”
Council ultimately chose to post a survey on local nonprofit Camden Comeback’s Facebook page to solicit responses from village residents.
“Let the people in the community voice their opinion,” Steele said.
Village Council meetings take place the first and third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Camden Town Hall.