The proposal to combine Central District Court in Cortland and Eastern District Court in Brookfield has now become a campaign issue.
It's being highlighted by Republican candidates in their attempts to unseat two entrenched Democrats in Trumbull County.
Republican John Hull of Hubbard, running for county commissioner, said commissioners played politics to delay the matter to avoid having a Republican judge, who is the judge now in Central District Court, from becoming the full-time judge in the combined court.
Judges in those courts are only part-time.
For political purposes, Hull said, ''they are wasting a million dollars of our money over five years.''
Two-term commissioner Dan Polivka, Hull's opponent, said the Republican is ''grasping at straws'' because Hull doesn't understand the situation.
What commissioners did was only recommend that the courts be combined, Polivka said. Commissioners did recommend in April to combine the courts after two public hearings to get input from citizens.
The final decision is made by the state lawmakers, who must approve the combination by a two-thirds vote, Polivka said.
The court issue also has become a point of contention in the 64th District Ohio House race between Republican Randy Law and Democrat Tom Letson, both of Warren.
Law says Letson worked behind the scenes to stop a Republican-sponsored bill that would have combined the courts.
The ''golden opportunity'' to combine the courts passed, Law said. The seat is being left by Judge Ron Rice, who is running unopposed for the Common Pleas Court bench.
Language to combine the courts in Trumbull County was included in a similar bill to merge courts in Sandusky that already had been introduced.
The language put into the Sandusky bill was first in a bill introduced by Pierpont Republican state Rep. Casey Kozlowski. It called for a judicial election for the new court in 2017.
Letson said it's easy for Law to make that claim from his point of view.
Letson said he introduced a bill that is a ''total proposal'' to consolidate the courts, and that he doesn't control the docket.
Really, the only difference between Letson's and Kozlowski's bill is the date for a new election. Letson's measure calls for one in 2013.
Letson's bill hasn't had a hearing.
One of the results of the merger not happening is that an election will happen since the seat is open.
Attorneys Rob Platt and Randil Rudloff, who declared his candidacy for the seat early on are running for the part-time position. Whoever the winner, it will be first six-year term for either man. Both men are from Cortland.