MANSFIELD -- Joe Jerger on Wednesday announced his candidacy for Richland County Probate Judge
A lifelong resident of Richland County, Jerger has worked in his family law firm, focusing on probate law for 29 years. He is graduate of Ontario High School and Ohio Northern University.
Current Probate Judge Philip Alan B. Mayer was elected to office in November of 2002 and took office in February of 2003. Ohio law prevents a common pleas court judge from beginning a new term after age 70.
Jerger, a Democrat, has represented the United Steelworkers, the Richland County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services and the Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
He helped incorporate the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Richland County, also known as NAMI, and was part of the team that created Assisted Outpatient Treatment Court.
He also assisted in the training of first responders in Richland County known as CIT, crisis intervention training, to help them better deal with the mentally ill in critical situations.
Jerger serves as guardian for 96 Richland County residents and has handled thousands of probate cases over the years. He has volunteered on many nonprofit boards, including NAMI, St. Mary’s School, The Shelby Country Club, and many others.
“Whether advising a grieving family through the probate process or helping one of my wards make important medical decisions, my life and career have been about helping people through some of the most stressful and difficult interactions they’ll have with our court system," Jerger said.
"The decisions made by a probate judge touch on some of the most intimate and critical aspects of our lives. While I never planned on being a politician, becoming a judge is the natural next step when I think about how I serve this community.
"Richland County needs and deserves strong, compassionate, experienced leadership on the bench. The judge who makes decisions impacting our most vulnerable citizens should understand the ramifications of those rulings in order to preside fairly, ethically, and honorably," Jerger said.
"That’s why I’m running for Richland County Probate Court judge. Our community deserves nothing less," he said.
Probate courts provide legal proceeding's to determine a decedent's assets, their value and the method of distribution to heirs.
Other duties of the court include guardianship's, trusts, civil commitments, adoptions, name changes, birth registrations/corrections and marriage licenses.