(Posted Dec. 30, 2019)
By Ris Twigg, Staff Writer
Kimberly Welsh didn’t go to law school, but she’s been working in the field for more than 30 years. And according to her supervisors, she keeps the show running at the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office.
Welsh has been the office administrator for more than 16 years, organizing budgets, processing payroll, managing bank accounts and more. She also oversees nearly 200 felony court cases each year in Madison County.
“It’s like having another lawyer for a secretary because she understands law perfectly and understands what you need to complete a case, all the evidence and documents,” said Stephen Pronai, county prosecutor.
It’s not a typical job description for an office administrator, but Welsh’s 16 years of hard work balancing multiple roles has earned her a prestigious award from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s Association.
In November, Welsh won “Outstanding Support Staff Person of the Year” for the first time after her supervisors, Pronai and Nicholas Adkins, assistant county prosecutor, nominated her for the award.
Only one support staff person out of all 88 county prosecuting offices can win the award each year, Pronai said.
“I never really thought I’d win the award. I mean, you’re talking 88 counties,” Welsh said. “It had to sort of sink in.”
Welsh said she was nominated in her first nine months on the job, back in 2003, and has been nominated several other times throughout her career.
“It’s nice to know your hard work is noticed, because I spend a lot of time here,” she said. “I’m going to hang it up on the wall, so it’ll be nice to look at it when I’m here until 9 o’clock at night.”
In their nominations, Pronai and Adkins detailed how vital Welsh’s work ethic is when it comes time to prosecute. Her roles are almost endless; Welsh prepares the office for grand jury trials, processes legal paperwork, hires new staff and much more.
“The success of this office in prosecuting criminal cases is a direct result of Kim’s involvement and assistance. This office functions because she is here,” Pronai wrote in his nomination.
Welsh doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to work, either. Both of her children play sports. On multiple occasions, she has worked right up until she has to leave to make it on time, stayed for the whole game and drove right back to the office to process more cases.
While her workload sometimes becomes overwhelming and hectic, she focuses on the deadlines that are most important to keep the county prosecuting office on track—the felony trials.
“My timelines for what goes on in the felony department are more important because if you miss a timeline and it’s a biggie, you could let someone who’s charged with a terrible offense walk because something didn’t get done on time,” she explained.
For Welsh, not getting the job done is not an option. She said she gets a sense of satisfaction in knowing that she helps put sex offenders and drug traffickers behind bars.
Part of Welsh’s job requires collecting, organizing, reading and watching evidence related to almost every one of the felony cases that go through the Madison County
Prosecutor’s Office. She remembers many of the cases clearly.
“I’m never going to forget my first shaken baby syndrome (case). That happened shortly after I started,” she said. “Most recently, the double homicide we had here in town. They (all) lost their lives and that has stuck with me.”
Through hard times, Welsh turns to her faith for guidance and support. And even though things get tough at the office, she said she still has seven more years until she retires.
“My mindset now is that I’ll retire and come back and work part-time. I can’t imagine not working,” she said. “This was a goal of mine, and I’m thrilled that I have it. I’m still going to work towards that goal. I mean, who says you can’t win it twice?”