Russ Joseph, a longtime Dayton Municipal Court chief deputy clerk and brother of Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph, was selected by county Democrats on Thursday to permanently succeed Greg Brush as Montgomery County clerk of courts.
Russ Joseph, 40, replaces Brush, who retired Oct. 31 to take a job as chief administrator for the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts. Connie Villelli, director of compliance and special projects in the clerk’s office, served as acting clerk until the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s Central Committee picked Joseph during a special session Thursday night.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve Montgomery County and follow Greg Brush’s leadership,” Joseph said. “We are in a constantly changing environment and the biggest piece is staying on top of it and making sure we are running as efficient an office as possible to serve the needs of the public.”
Joseph will be sworn in Monday at 11:30 a.m. in Courtroom 1B at Dayton Municipal Court.
Joseph started with the Dayton Municipal Clerk of Court in 2004 as the administrative assistant. Promoted to chief deputy clerk in 2007, he oversees the office’s $3.6 million annual budget and 45 employees. As county clerk of courts, he will oversee a budget of about $7.7 million and a staff of about 100 employees.
The county clerk’s office is responsible for receiving and maintaining a number legal documents for Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Court, two county municipal courts, the state’s Second District Court of Appeals and five auto title offices.
Mark Owens, Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman, said one other person, Craig Zimmers, a former county clerk of courts, expressed late interest in the position with a letter but did not follow through screening process that resulted in Joseph’s appointment.
“Russ is an experienced and qualified candidate who will continue Greg Brush’s legacy of streamlining services while cutting costs and efficiently serving customers,” said Owens, also Dayton Municipal Court clerk and Joseph’s boss in recent years.
Joseph and his wife Katie are University of Dayton graduates and Boonshoft Museum of Discovery associate board members. He served on Dayton’s Landmarks Commission from 2009-2017, was on the board and served as board president at the House of Bread, and was an Oregon Historic District Society trustee.
The Josephs live in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District, with son Eli, 8.
Joseph said he’s in the job “for the long haul” and will run for election in 2018 because of a state law required to fill the final two years of Brush’s term, which would have ended in 2020.