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Fundamental fairness? Forget about it

Matt Westerhold • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:28 PM

NOTE: Retired Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph Cirigliano did not sentence a woman hell-bent on making Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter uncomfortable to eight years in prison. Judge Richard Markus sentenced Elsebeth Baumgartner. A previous verson of this blog contained incorrect information.

You better believe the "fix" to make sure fired Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse stays fired is already in place. Law director Don Icsman recommended the city civil service commission appoint retired Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Joseph E. Cirigliano as its hearing officer for Nuesse's appeal of her termination, and that's what the commission did on Monday.

What's wrong with that, you might ask. Well, first off, Icsman is so deeply imbedded in this controversy he has no business recommending anyone do anything on this matter. Icsman effectively approved the $22,000 Murman investigation without any input from city commission, which is required to review and give prior approval for such expenditures. City commissioners should be asking if the city charter was violated when Icsman approved the biased and bogus Murman probe, and if it was violated why their law director ignored city law on this huge waste of taxpayer money. Icsman should be held accountable for his decisions, and he should refrain from any further input on this sad, sad, sad affair.

Why haven't those questions been asked? Why is Nuesse the only person being held accountable? Why, indeed?

And Cirigliano? He has long-standing ties to Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter, who was a witness in the Murman integrity probe and provided questionable testimony against Nuesse to the Murman investigators. Baxter later "corrected" the tainted Murman report after the Register raised questions about the accuracy of his statement.

What gave Baxter the right to alter a public document? Is he above the law? Why is Nuesse the only person being held accountable? Why, indeed?

Cirigliano ruled in favor of Baxter in a court dispute with his brother over the estate of their parents. Cirigliano has no business serving as the civil service commission's hearing officer in Nuesse's appeal. He should step aside and he should do so immediately. Surely, there is someone better positioned to provide the "fundamental fairness" this situation demands. That person is not Judge Cirigliano.

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