UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (May 12, 2023) – Tuscarawas County Southern District court will soon have a permanent judge again.
Governor Mike DeWine’s office announced Thursday it is appointing Uhrichsville Law Director JJ Ong to the vacancy.
“I’m excited and honored that the governor would give me that position,” said Ong.
Ong replaces Brad Hillyer, who retired in January after 22 years on the bench. Before that, his father Hudson “Hud” Hillyer was the court’s judge for 22 years.
Ong says it’s meaningful to follow in their footsteps.
“I’ve worked with Brad and our families have known each other for years and years and years,” said Ong, “Brad’s relative and my great-grandfather had an office together years ago.”
Ong became Uhrichsville’s law director in 2018. He discussed his new job at Thursday night’s city council meeting.
“I’ve enjoyed my time, of course it’s not been the easiest position to hold,” Ong told council members, “but I look forward to working with the city in my new capacity.”
Uhrichsville city leaders will now have to hire a new law director after he officially becomes judge on May 29.
Ong has previously filled in as acting judge at Southern District Court and has served as solicitor for the villages of Dennison and Tuscarawas.
Ong says he intends to run for reelection when the judge’s seat is up for vote next year.