Former Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Maureen O’Connor, delivered a speech on April 6th to the Ohio City County Management Association at OCMA’s Annual Conference that highlighted the importance of effective leadership and the role of the law in promoting fairness and justice in our communities.
According to O’Connor, working in government is about “solving problems for people who can’t solve them themselves. I have always wanted to use our system of government to solve problems. Use the system to make it better.” O’Connor stressed that good leadership requires a willingness to listen to different perspectives and to engage in constructive dialogue with those who may hold opposing views. “Weave kindness into how you do your job,” O’Connor encouraged attendees.
Drawing on her extensive experience in the legal profession, O’Connor provided valuable insights into the challenges facing local governments and noted that the administration of the law is not something that is partisan. Referencing the controversy of redistricting that she was at the center of during her tenure on the Ohio Supreme Court, O’Connor noted that she is working on a constitutional amendment for the November 2024 ballot that would depoliticize the redistricting process. “Redistributing reform is crucial to our democracy. When you have a monopoly you don’t tend to represent all of people.”
The former Chief Justice also encouraged conference attendees to talk to kids about local government in order to expose children to important concepts in our democracy, such as the fact that “we are one of many”. For those interested in working in local government and getting into public service she urged “don’t be afraid to raise your hand and say I’ll do it”.