After 15 years of service to Delaware County as clerk of courts, Jan Antonoplos decided not to run for another term in office.
Antonoplos was appointed to be clerk of courts in January 2002 to replace Betty Porter by the Delaware County Republican central committee. After completing the remainder of Porter’s term, she ran her own campaign for the office. “I ran for election in the fall,” she said. She won by getting 78 percent of the vote. Since then she has run unopposed.
When an elected official decides to leave office mid-term, the party’s central committee appoints a successor to finish the term. Antonoplos didn’t want to exit office in that manner.
“I didn’t want to run unopposed and step down,” she said. “It didn’t seem right.” She will leave office at the end of her current term on Dec. 31 this year.
Antonoplos’ replacement will be Natalie Fravel who ran unopposed in the March primary and is unopposed in November’s election for clerk of courts. Fravel’s first day in office will be Jan. 2, 2017.
The county Clerk of Courts Office oversees two distinct divisions — court documents and the auto title division — for the county.
In an interview last week, Antonoplos talked about some of the shining moments of her 15-year tenure in office. “We were the first county in Ohio to have electronic (court) documents online,” she said.
In 2005 Antonoplos worked to have CourtView, a case management system, installed. The program allows the public to view court documents online. She volunteered to be a pilot office for the program to help cut costs. “We’ve been able to do this in a very cost-effective manner because of our long-standing relationship with CourtView,” Antonoplos said.
The system now allows attorneys to file court documents online. “As of 2013, we began accepting electronic filings,” she said. There are currently over 2,000 attorneys registered to file their documents online, she added.
When she entered office, the county had one office serving Delaware County. In 2003 she opened a satellite office on the corner of Powell Road and U.S. 23. “We market our services to the surrounding counties,” she said. “Because of our location, we’ve been able to provide title transfer services to the dealers around the I-270 outer-belt area.”
Business has been good for the title division. “Our title division deposits enough revenue into our title fund that we have been fortunate to be able to give to the Delaware County general fund close to $2 million over the years,” she said.
She’s been a part of the new courthouse building committee since the beginning. She said she’s especially excited about the much-needed space for the clerk’s office. However, since she will be leaving office before the building is completed, she won’t make the move to the new office. She doesn’t seem to mind. “I don’t like moving,” she joked.
In her office is a photograph displayed between a couple of windows. The 8-by-10 photograph is of her shaking hands with Ronald Reagan. “I was an alternate delegate for Reagan at the 1984 Republican Convention,” she said.
In July she will attend her sixth Republican Convention in Cleveland. “I’m a delegate for (John) Kasich,” she said.
During her tenure as Clerk of Courts she’s had the opportunity to work with four different judges. She is appreciative of Judges Henry Shaw, Duncan Whitney, Everett Krueger and David Gormley. “They have always been open to our ideas to make improvements in the clerk’s office and enabled us to complete our projects,” she said.
It’s no secret she’s an avid golfer. At the top of the stairs to her office is a sign that states, “Golfers welcome anytime, all others need to make an appointment.”
Once out of office, she’s looking forward to working on her swing to lower her handicap and to traveling. She said she has found being clerk of courts an honor. “It has been my honor to serve the citizens of Delaware County,” she said.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.