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First woman seeks law director position

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As of Feb. 4, Chief City Prosecutor Lisa Eliason has officially launched her campaign to become the first female law director after the vacancy left behind by Patrick Lang who was recently elected to the Athens County Court of Common Pleas.

Eliason has served as Athen’s Chief City Prosecutor since she was appointed to the position in 1990. During her years of service Eliason has helped the efforts of both Law Director Hunter and his predecessor, Lang.

With over 14,000 cases passing through her office every year, Eliason has appeared in court  thousands of times. Along with a career that spans over 27 years, Eliason says she’s ready to bring her experience to the position, but also her own personal qualities.

“I pride myself on my organization, my empathy and compassion,” Eliason said in an email.

As for the campaign, it is currently on hold after both a Democrat and Republican failed to file as her opponent by the deadline. There is a chance someone could run as an independent; they have until 4 p.m. the day before the primary election to file to run.

Believe it or not, the job is only a part-time position spent mostly advising city officials and supervising city prosecutors. However, this position has traditionally been held by a man.

According to Eliason, about half of law school students are women but not all of them go on to actually practice. Her opinion for why women haven’t been seen in this position is it just hasn’t been the right time.

“I believe this is because women are mostly still responsible for child rearing duties. If a female attorney wants to have a family and career she needs a good support system,” Eliason said.

If elected, Eliason would put an end to a long line of male predecessors, but she refuses to see being the first woman as a challenge.

“I have been in this office twice since 1990 serving nearly 23 years as a prosecutor. I know the ins and outs of the everyday operations of the office. The transition has been smooth.”

Eliason has been serving as Interim Law Director since Feb. 9 and will remain in the position until it is finally filled Jan. 1, 2016.

With her election, Eliason would be taking on a multitude of responsibilities. Under the Ohio Revised Code, the city director of law shall prepare all contracts, bonds and other instruments in writing with which the city is concerned, and shall serve the several directors and officers of the city as legal counsel and attorney.

If elected, Eliason would like to help improve law training of Athen’s City boards, such as the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Since the beginning of her career, serving the public has always been Eliason’s goal and with this election she hopes to continue.

“I have always served the public either as a special education teacher or as a prosecutor. This continues serving the public.”

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