“Michael (Jones) had the experience of being a village solicitor in northern Ohio before (returning to Portsmouth),” Schisler said. “Part of the job is working well with City Council and the mayor. He's their lawyer. He not only drafts the legislation, but he gives legal account.”
In Jones' speech following his swearing-in, he said he hopes to focus on a positive vision for Portsmouth.
“What we hope to be doing over the next four years is putting in positive vision for the city of Portsmouth. There are a lot of issues on the table, and I think I've got an excellent staff that is going to assist me,” he said. “This is a great community, and I am honored and privileged to be part of it, and look forward to working with everybody in the near future.”
Later, he outlined three of his objectives over the next four years as solicitor. First, to establish an active presence in the courtroom. Second, to establish a victim advocacy program. And third, minimize outside council fees paid by the city for lawsuits filed against the city.
Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner said he is looking forward to working with Jones.
“I think he is a young man who brings talent to the office with his experience in the military. I think he'll make a significant contribution to this community,” Horner said. “He is a good family man it appears. We have worked with his wife in the mayor's office. She is a wonderful person, and one of his children just graduated from our D.A.R.E. program.”
During the swearing-in, Jones was accompanied by his wife, Wendy, and two sons, Brandon, 11, and A.J., nine.
Portsmouth Mayor Jim Kalb said he expects to work together well with the new solicitor.
“I think Mike (Jones) will be really good for the city. He has a lot of good ideas, and I think he will work hard to overcome the things left on the table,” Kalb said. “I think he will do well to take care of all of them.”
Jones said he graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1987, and continued his studies toward a law degree. He then invested four and a half years in the United States Navy as a prosecutor. After the Navy, Jones moved his family to the Lima area, where he was appointed a solicitor to two villages.
Jones returned to Portsmouth in April 2005, and is the sole practitioner in his law office. He also is a commander in the Navy reserves, continuing his service of about 14 years with the Navy.
In addition to the solicitor, Jones' two assistants, Jerry Buckler and Ruth Buckler, also were sworn into the office as assistant city solicitors.
Jerry Buckler commented on the relationship between the two assistants with the same last name.
“For everyone that does not know, Ruth is my sister-in-law, because everybody confuses our last names as being husband and wife. But, Ruth is married to my brother. All three of us are attorneys, which is way too many in one family,” he said. “Ruth will be in Judge (Russell) Kegley's courtroom, and I will be in Judge Schisler's courtroom. We look forward to doing those things that we do in assistance to Mike (Jones).”