Stow -- A new clerk of courts has been named for the Stow Municipal Court.
Cuyahoga Falls City Councilmember Diana Colavecchio (D-5) was appointed the new clerk of courts by the Summit County Democratic Central Committee Jan. 8. Colavecchio will replace Lisa Zeno Carano, who resigned from the post effective Dec. 31.
Zeno Carano stepped down to take a position as court administrator with the Summit County Court of Common Pleas Probate Division, working under Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer.
"I'm excited to join [Judge Stormer's] court," Zeno Carano said Jan. 8. "I'm happy to take my experience to another court level."
"I am looking forward to a new challenge," said Colavecchio, who has practiced law for 23 years and has had her own law practice with her husband, Paul, for the last 12 years. "I'm really ready to do something a little different. This presents a whole new challenge for me."
She noted the clerk's job involves administrative work, which she said she both enjoys and has become accustomed to doing while she has run her own law firm.
"I feel like this is going to match my personality," said Colavecchio, who added it was "an honor to be following in the footsteps of Lisa and [previous clerk of courts] Eric Czetli."
Zeno Carano's six-year term would have expired Dec. 31, 2015. Colavecchio will serve until a clerk is elected in November to serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Colavecchio has said she will seek election in the fall.
Colavecchio was the only nominee for the post. She was nominated by Tim Gorbach (D), chair of the Summit County Board of Elections and a former Cuyahoga Falls City Councilmember.
He described Colavecchio as a "tremendous leader" on Cuyahoga Falls City Council who has "taken a leadership role on many issues."
"She has the experience to run the clerk's office," he added.
After the vote, Colavecchio was sworn in by Stow Mayor Sara Drew.
Colavecchio is planning to resign from her Council post, as state law does not allow an individual to serve in two elected offices simultaneously.
Colavecchio said she is not certain of her exact date of resignation because "this appointment [to the clerk of courts] has to be made official by the "[Ohio] Secretary of State's office."
Colavecchio said she expected to receive word about when she needed to resign by the end of this past week.
According to Cuyahoga Falls City Council President Don Walters (D-6), the six elected Democratic precinct committee members of Ward 5 must elect a replacement for her Council seat within 30 days.
Any resident in Ward 5 with an interest in serving should contact Megan Moreland, Summit County Democratic Party executive director, at 330-434-1311.
'Bittersweet' to leave Falls City Council
Colavecchio said she and Zeno Carano are friends. During the election season, Colavecchio said, she had heard Zeno Carano may be interested in working for Judge Stormer at the probate court level if Stormer was victorious in the election.
"As soon as I knew that the spot was available, I started putting the feelers out to see if that was something that I could get support for, and I was pleased to know that I could," said Colavecchio. "I immediately started the campaigning to get the spot."
"I'm sad to leave [City Council]," said Colavecchio. "It's been really sweet getting to know everybody and feeling like you're a part of the policy-making decisions in the city. I enjoyed the cooperative spirit I felt existed on Council."
She described leaving Council as "bittersweet," saying her seven-year tenure has been "a wonderful experience."
"There's no replacing the value of that experience," said Colavecchio. "Yet, it is also time to move on."
Zeno Carano looking forward to challenge
Zeno Carano said she was "pretty flattered" that Judge Stormer asked her to join the probate division.
"There's a lot to do," she said. "It will be very challenging and I like that."
Zeno Carano said she would miss her staff at the municipal court. "It's filled with a lot of wonderful, hardworking people."
She noted she had a lot of "good ideas" that she had hoped to implement at the municipal court level.
"Some things turned out really well," she said, adding that the collection program she started to deal with unpaid fines collected $500, 000 in its five-year history.
"The relationship with all jurisdictions has been really good," she said.
Communities served by the Municipal Court District include: Boston Heights, Boston Township, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, Munroe Falls, Northfield, Northfield Center Township, Peninsula, Reminderville, Sagamore Hills, Silver Lake, Stow, Tallmadge, Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township.
"Lisa was great to work with . . . she really made a lot of changes that saved money [at the court]," said Drew.
"She was doing a really great job," Drew said. "I will miss working with her and look forward to working with the new person."
Zeno Carano was appointed to the municipal court post in April 2007, replacing longtime clerk Eric Czetli who stepped down to take another job. She was elected to finish the unexpired term that November and was elected to a full six-year term in November 2009.
She had served as an at-large councilperson for the city of Tallmadge prior to being appointed to the municipal court.
"It was a good run, I very much enjoyed it," said Zeno Carano. "This will be a new, fresh beginning for me."
Cuyahoga Falls News-Press Editor Phil Keren contributed to this report.