Gahanna, New Albany poised to consolidate mayor's court operations

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Gahanna and New Albany are considering a shared-services agreement that would allow Gahanna to provide court services for New Albany in the council chambers at Gahanna City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road.

The cities of Gahanna and New Albany announced April 12 a tentative shared-services agreement to consolidate mayor’s court operations for the municipalities beginning in July.

Under the proposed agreement, New Albany would compensate Gahanna for providing court services, resulting in an overall reduction of expenses for Gahanna’s court operations, according to an April 12 joint press release.

The proposed agreement is a "win-win” for both cities, said Laurie Jadwin, Gahanna mayor.

“Over the past decade, the Columbus region as a whole has seen tremendous growth and success, in large part, because of the concerted effort by cities and counties to work together and align efforts,” she said. “Our new partnership with New Albany is a groundbreaking approach to shared services that will allow both cities to continue to provide excellent service to our respective communities while also streamlining operations and reducing the financial impact of providing those services.”

The close geographical proximity and the timing of New Albany’s clerk of court’s resignation made a partnership with New Albany a viable option, according to the release.

“When our clerk of court resigned last year, we began researching whether to hire a new person or do something different,” said Joseph Stefanov, New Albany city manager.

New Albany began to search for collaborative opportunities with other local communities, with the goal of simplifying their operations.

Stefanov said approval of the contract by both municipalities should result in a mutually beneficial shared-services partnership. 

“We viewed the potential partnership with the city of Gahanna as a means to create greater efficiency while maintaining a high level of customer service that is our organizational standard,” he said.

Amanda Parker, director of court services for Gahanna, said the collaboration would have little impact on the operations within Gahanna City Hall. 

An additional session specific to New Albany will extend the length of the current court day for Parker and two full-time deputy clerks. 

“We will plan to work closely with New Albany to ensure a smooth transition in the operations of the court,” she said. “Our focus is to always provide exceptional customer service in a just and transparent manner for those appearing before the court. I am confident that this merger will serve as a model for other communities and will meet the high standards that the residents of our communities expect of their local government.” 

Stefanov said New Albany has a history of collaboration with its regional partners. 

“We believe that Gahanna’s mayor’s court will provide the convenient location and user-friendly experience that our mayor’s court customers expect,” he said.

The project serves as an opportunity to strengthen the city’s relationships with one of its neighboring jurisdictions, according to Jadwin.

“We can accomplish more together than we can when we work alone,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to explore new ways to collaborate with our partners in the region as we work to move Gahanna forward.” 

Grandview and Marble Cliff have a similar shared-services agreement for mayor’s court in Franklin County, according to the release.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla