Robert Parrott has been recommended to serve as the next municipal court judge.
Dean Cook, secretary for the local Republican Central Committee said he expects to submit paperwork to Gov. Mike DeWine later today, asking him to appoint Parrott as a replacement for retiring Marysville Municipal Court Judge Michael Grigsby.
“We need someone who can step in and do the job without a learning curve,” Parrott said. “I think the staff knows me and how I will do things, the attorneys know what to expect and I think I will be able to pick up where he (Grigsby) left off.”
The list for DeWine to consider will also include Assistant Union County Prosecutor Andrew Bigler and Union County Probate and Juvenile Court Chief Magistrate Sharon Robinson-Walls. Cook explained that the central committee is required to submit a list to the governor to consider, but voted unanimously to recommend Parrott for the position.
Parrott has been acting judge in the court for 24 years, meaning that any time the judge was out of town, overloaded or needed to recuse himself, the duties fell to Parrott.
“At the end of the day, Union County will be getting some valuable experience with Bob on there,” Cook said. “It’s a pretty big shop over there. It’s busy all the time, lots of employees, so the experience was the biggest piece for us.”
It is that experience, Parrott said, that convinced him he wanted the job.
“When I have filled in for the judge, which I did quite often, I have liked it,” Parrott said. “It is different every day and I like that. It can go from an illegal frog-gigging case to marrying people, issuing search warrants to a bench trial. It is such a variety.”
Parrott said he also appreciates the ability to do smaller civil cases and that criminal penalties in the court are not usually severe.
In addition, to be eligible to be the acting judge, Parrott needed the same qualifications at the permanent judge, meaning that in the past 24 years, he has taken more than 100 continuing education courses “that specifically trained me to be the municipal court judge.”
Cook and Parrott both stressed this is a nomination, not an appointment.
“The governor can appoint anyone he wants, but coming from our party, it usually works out pretty well for us,” Cook said.
Parrott said the governor could make the appointment immediately or it could be months.
When Parrott expressed interest in the judge’s position, he resigned from the Union County Board of Elections and the Central Committee.
“He has been on the Board of Elections for 32 years and doing elections for 37 years,” Cook said. “We are really going to miss him there.”
Cook said the central committee appointed former Union County Commissioner Gary Lee to fill Parrott’s spot on the Board of Elections.
Once the governor makes his appointment, that person will serve as interim judge only until a new judge can be elected to fill the unexpired portion of Grigsby’s term.
Parrott has said he will seek election in November, though no candidate is permitted to begin collecting signatures until the position is officially vacant. Grigsby, who has served as municipal court judge since 2000, will retire, effective at the end of this week.
Candidates who want to be on the ballot in November have 10 days after the vacancy to submit their petition. The deadline to submit petitions is 4 p.m. on Aug. 2.
Parrott said that election will take place Nov. 2 and the judge would likely take the bench before Thanksgiving. The winner will complete Grigsby’s term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2023.
If elected in November, a newly-elected judge would have six months to close their private practice.
“In a way, I kind of hate to stop doing that, but I am ready for a new challenge,” Parrott said.
Parrott graduated from Marysville High School in 1978 and from Ohio Northern University with a bachelor’s degree in 1982 and his law degree in 1985.
When he returned from law school, Parrott joined the family practice with his father.