LIMA — Margie Murphy Miller will wrap up a 31-year career in public service on the final day of August when the sitting clerk of courts for Allen County officially retires from that position.
Murphy Miller was appointed to fill a vacancy in the clerk’s office in August 2010 following the resignation of the former clerk who left as part of an agreement when she pleaded guilty to misconduct in office.
Following a hastily-assembled campaign, Murphy Miller successfully garnered 72 percent of the vote against her Democrat opponent in November of that year to win the right to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term of her predecessor.
At the time Murphy Miller had 19 years of experience working for the common pleas court and two years with a private law firm.
“I had worked for Judge (Richard) Warren, Judge (Michael) Rumer and Judge (Jeffrey) Reed for 19 years before I sought the appointment as clerk of courts,” Murphy Miller recalled earlier this week.
By working closely with the clerk’s office through her role with the common pleas court, “I thought I knew what all the clerk’s office did,” Murphy Miller said. “But once I got the job I was amazed at how complex this office really is.”
Murphy Miller, a Republican, was elected to full four-year terms — unopposed each time — in 2012, 2016 and 2020. She said changes have been plentiful during her tenure.
“We are so much more innovative and efficient than we were when I first started,” she said. “We partnered with Document Service Company and they helped us digitize all our records. When I started we would have to go with a flashlight down into the basement (of the county courthouse) to find records, and that’s just not a good place to store public records.”
The company, she said, scanned “decades and decades of criminal cases” and turned the office into a “much more efficient” site to best serve the public.
Murphy Miller and her husband, Gary — who works with the Bureau of Criminal investigation arm of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office — will retire together on the month’s final day.
“He’s been waiting for me for two years,” Margie laughed. The pair intends to travel and devote more time to their business that provides surveillance technology to law enforcement agencies and municipalities.
Murphy Miller said she will miss problem-solving and dealing with the public to provide the best possible customer service.
“But what I’ll really miss is the people. I know that’s cliche, but I’ve developed a lot of really great relationships here. I love them to pieces. We went through some tough times during COVID (when a staff member fought and won a life-and-death battle during the pandemic) and that really strengthened our bond.
“I’ve had a great career. After 31 years of constant learning and growing, I will miss the people, but it’s my staff that will hold my heart forever.”
Filling the vacancy
Allen County Republican Party Chairman Keith Cheney said the process for filling Murphy Miller’s vacant seat begins with the board of county commissioners, which must appoint an interim clerk after the seat has been vacant for at least five days.
Following the appointment of the interim clerk, the Allen County Republican Party’s Central Committee has 45 days to name a replacement, who will then be on the ballot in November seeking the opportunity to complete the remainder of the unexpired term.