Warren County to elect new clerk of courts

Breighton Smith and Scott Male are seeking the GOP nomination in the March election; the winner will be unopposed in November

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

For the first time in 28 years, there will be a new Warren County Clerk of Courts as incumbent GOP Clerk of Courts James Spaeth will be stepping down after seven terms.

Breighton Smith and Scott Male are vying for the Republican nomination in the March 19 primary election, which is the only contest for a countywide office. The winner of this contest is unopposed in the Nov. 5 general election.

The county clerk of courts is the custodian for all appellate, civil, felony, criminal, and domestic relations filings in the Warren County Common Pleas Court and the Warren County Court; the processing of all motor vehicle and watercraft title transactions; and is an authorized U.S. Passport Acceptance Agent. The Clerk of Courts has a four-year term of office and currently receives an annual salary of $111,190.

Here is a look at both candidates running in the GOP primary on March 19:

Scott Male

In his first run for public office, Scott Male said he’s running because he believes his experience working closely with the clerk of courts office has given him a unique perspective as to how the office operates, how it interacts with the public, law enforcement agencies, courts, and attorneys.

“I will bring the same level of dedication to the clerk’s office that I did to the prosecuting attorney’s office,” he said. “If I am elected as your clerk, I will serve as your full-time clerk, and remain dedicated to making the Warren County Clerk’s Office the standard in which other counties look to.

Male, 57, is a retired law enforcement officer with more than 30 years of experience in the Warren County criminal justice system. During that time, he served as chief investigator for the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office. In seeking the clerk of courts office, Male has the support of Spaeth.

If Male is elected, he identified his top priorities for the clerk of courts’ office as:

  • Improve how records are kept and how they are accessed.
  • Ensure that public records can be easily accessed, and that confidential information is protected.
  • Expand the electronic filing system and streamline the process of how documents are transferred to and from other agencies and look for ways to dramatically reduce the need for a physical visit to the office.

To address these priorities, Male said he would use his experience navigating the Warren County criminal justice system and the relationships he’s built over the years with members of the Warren County Bar Association, law enforcement, and the courts to find innovative solutions to increase office efficiency to better serve the citizens of Warren County.

When asked to describe himself in one word and why, Male said “dedicated.”

“I am a dedicated public servant,” he said. “In whatever I do, I am dedicated in following through.”

A resident of Hamilton Twp., Male is married and has two daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. He is a 1989 graduate of the Scarlet Oaks Police Academy.

Breighton Smith

Credit: Breighton And Basette Photograph

Credit: Breighton And Basette Photograph

Breighton Smith said he’s running for clerk of courts because it needs bold conservative leadership that has a business-minded focus on modernization and transitioning that office into the next era.

“As a law office manager and as someone who holds a law degree, I have experience in how crucial the clerk’s office is,” Smith said. “Your Warren County Clerk of Courts is the central nervous system of our local legal community. It is responsible for processing the important legal cases that impact your life. I am running for Clerk of Courts to help ensure that your Constitutional rights and your business and personal legal matters are protected in a technologically modern, efficient, impartial, and professional manner.”

Smith, 37, is endorsed by the Warren County Republican Party.

Smith identified his three top priorities if he’s elected as clerk of courts:

  • Innovation: Through the modernization of the clerk’s office’s technology and operations to make it more effective for all the people it serves.
  • Fiscal responsibility: Through maximizing efficiency in the entire clerk’s office, including the Title Division. He said this will save money and time for taxpayers, legal clients, and the public at large.
  • Public service: By continuing and expanding on the clerk’s office’s legacy of professional customer service and positive engagement with the public.

Smith said he would implement modern, easy, and secure online access, payment, and filing by updating the filing and case management system and evaluating the office operations with the public, local attorneys, local judges, and clerk’s staff.

Asked for a word to describe himself, Smith offered “integrity.” “As a public servant, I have a responsibility to represent you and your interests, protect your God-given rights, and responsibly manage your tax dollars. That is why, instead of personal gain, I value things like transparency, honesty, and character within my public service. For me, this public position is not a long-term retirement plan,” he said.

Smith and his wife are residents of Lebanon. He manages a law office and is the owner/partner of a photography and visual arts company. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and a law degree from Northern Kentucky University.

In November 2023, Smith was elected to a four-year term on Lebanon City Council after being appointed to the council seat in December 2022.

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