Keeping Lakewood In The Lakewood Municipal Court by Judge Tess Neff

Josh Ferry, Judge Neff, and Emily Heidinger  on Josh's last day of work. (Nick Sinatra was unavailable for the photo)

Unfortunately, summer is winding down, and we at the Lakewood Municipal Court must say goodbye to our amazing and steadfast college summer interns. Joshua Ferry and Nicholas Sinatra will be terribly missed. They demonstrated an impressive work ethic, and both are young promising individuals. Josh is a lifelong Lakewood resident and still lives in Lakewood today with his family. This was Josh’s second summer working for the court. He is embarking on his third year at Cleveland State University. We wish him and Nick a successful collegiate year with a little fun thrown in. Although Nick is not a Lakewood resident he meshed very well with the staff. Like Josh, his opportunities were abundant. Both worked with our criminal, civil, and probation divisions. Plus, with the assistance of the Lakewood Police Department, Nick received a tour of the jail and a ride along with the Lakewood Police Officers. Nick is a third year student at my alma mater, Bowling Green State University!

Together, Josh and Nick helped with several big projects and provided support to the Clerk’s Office. Thousands of case files were stored in an orderly way and relocated to a secure area outside the court building. Many are on a schedule to be scanned into electronic files. Their work helped to create a small room once packed with files from floor to ceiling, into a comfortable break room and lunch area for the staff. It is the first time staff have had a place onsite outside of their work stations to enjoy their lunch. The break/lunchroom would not have come to fruition without the summer interns’ assistance. We hope Josh and Nick can rejoin the court during their winter college break. The work will be here!

I would be remiss if I did not also recognize Emily Heidinger who served as the court’s legal intern. She is in her third year of law school at Cleveland State University of Law. Emily is simply amazing on all levels. She is a lifelong Lakewood resident (Bonus!) who has chosen to continue living in Lakewood with her husband. Emily is a wonderful asset to the magistrates, bailiffs, court administrator, and me. She is a whiz at legal research, remarkably efficient with producing a work product, and possesses a professional demeanor. The court staff truly appreciate Emily’s assistance and positive energy.

Emily surpassed my expectations when I tasked her with a few administrative projects for the court. She speedily and thoroughly organized the information after researching similar courts. I was able to cross off some items from my very long “To Do List” which saved me a lot of time. With the help from Emily, I was able to focus on the court’s caseload and other important projects. We are elated that Emily will continue her employment with the court during the law school year.

Overall, the summer months were a huge success. We accomplished an incredible amount of work with our summer time help. Thank you, Josh, Nick, and Emily for your diligent and dedicated efforts as we continue our movement forward to modernize the court.

Tess Neff

I am a 35-year Lakewood resident. My husband Rich and I raised our three children here and we love being a part of the community. My public service career expands 29 years and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to help people and have a positive impact on their lives. My ten years as a magistrate in the Lakewood Municipal Court and my time on Lakewood City Council has allowed me to engage with residents and understand the community needs. The relationships I have fostered with community partners over the years are invaluable to Lakewood's continued success and progression. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to serve as Lakewood's Judge and it is an honor to continue my public service in this role.  

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Volume 19, Issue 17, Posted 3:28 PM, 09.06.2023