Updated: Oct 25, 2019
Deborah Slaughter is an Associate Attorney, currently with the Zimmer Law Firm, and has been since 2015. Her practice concentrates in Probate and Trust Administration, life plans, and Irrevocable Trusts. She graduated from a nearby local college with a Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies and a minor in Business Management; she earned her J.D. from Chase College of Law in 2006. She was president of Cheviot City Council for nine years from 2007-2016, along with being a West-Sider her entire life.
Slaughter is currently running for Law Director for the City of Cheviot, a position with which she is very familiar. In fact, she was the city’s former Law Director just two years ago, (Jan 2017-Nov 2017), before losing out to Kimberlee Erdman Rohr (D) by 108 votes in the 2017 special election. The two familiar opponents will face off again this November, which is sure to be another tight race. Deborah says that both her experience as President of Council and Vice Mayor gives her the experience needed that she sees is currently lacking with the current Law Director.
Deborah seemed to be on the fence at first about running for election again. She had just put in ten years as a city public servant and was happy with her private life. After the 2017 special election, she took some time off before attending council meetings and public hearings again. Her Republican colleagues then asked her if she would consider running for Law Director. Deborah states that she thought about it for a while and then decided she would be the best fit for the job and decided to run.
Slaughter’s opponent, and current Law Director Kimberlee Erdman Rohr, was appointed to preside over the unofficial Juvenile Court proceedings as the hearing officer in Cheviot’s community court. She was sworn in by Judge Williams of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Mayor Samuel Keller, Police Chief Emmett Stone, and many city residents, per the city’s Facebook page, lent their full support to the Law Director on this accomplishment. Regular dockets will begin in the coming months; however, this new accomplishment has raised some eyebrows from critics.
“I don’t think you can be the prosecutor for the city, and also be a hearing officer who makes decisions; there is an apparent conflict there. Whether it is an actual problem or not, it has the appearance of impropriety,” said Deborah Slaughter. Additionally, Slaughter has concerns with how this court will operate in terms of the city’s budget. President of City Council, Mark Waters, echoed Mrs. Slaughter’s concerns pertaining to budgeting and Council not authorizing the use of their facilities. To date, no proposal by Law Director Rohr has been presented to City Council authorizing the use of City Facilities.
Operating in terms of cost to the city for this court is much lower than the city’s Mayor’s Court. The main cost will be paying a city police officer to sit in while the court is in session, but Mrs. Slaughter claims that City Council has wanted additional patrols, yet the city could not afford them. She then raised the question, why can the city all of a sudden afford this now? “My question is if this was not brought up in the budgeting process, why wasn’t it, and if the police are doing this, what aren’t they doing?” said Deborah Slaughter. Cheviot Police Chief Emmett Stone has agreed to pay for the unofficial court’s police officer out of his current police budget and no additional funds have been requested at this time.
Mrs. Slaughter is not without her own controversy as well. When she was appointed Law Director in 2017 another prosecutor was authorized to sit in with her at Mayor’s Court. This intern cost the City money to which her critics would point to her not having the proper trial law experience to do the job. I asked Mrs. Slaughter to explain her side of this situation. She says “When Mark Waters had been the Law Director for 20+ years, no one else had served in that position, so anyone that was appointed to that position would not of had knowledge to Cheviot’s Mayor’s Court. I was fortunate that there was a Cheviot attorney, that was not only a County Prosecutor but was also a Law Director for another Municipality at one point, so council authorized her to work with me for the first few months to make sure there was a smooth transition because I was thrown into it with Mark’s resignation, I was appointed and had to start immediately.”
Whether or not voters see Deborah Slaughter’s early days as Law Director as wasteful spending, or as a needed expense, she continues to point to her experience as her greatest attribute. The true judge will be the voters of Cheviot come November 5th.