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Police sergeant gets second chance plus $50,000

Matt Westerhold • Feb 15, 2013 at 8:02 AM

There has to be a better way to manage a staff. An arbitrator's decision will cost city taxpayers $50,000 and a police sergeant gets his job back. 

The story is on page A2 in today's e*Paper and the ruling from a state arbitrator will get posted at sanduskyregister.com later today. 

The Sandusky Police Department deserves credit for working to improve services and discipline among its ranks. But maybe police Sgt. Steve Ritterbach deserves a second chance on the force and the same might be true for SPD officer Todd Smith. Both were fired last year after a sexting, texting and threats incident involving them and Ritterbach's new wife. 

Maybe they don't deserve their jobs back.

Who knows?

But taxpayers know — and commissioners would be well served to learn — that spending $100,000 on failed disciplinary actions is not a wise use of the public's money, and there's likely to be additional expense when city attorneys mail their invoices to taxpayers. Taxpayers deserve to hear from the city manager what the city can do, and what it is doing, to address the serious shortcomings of city management and structure that results six-digit losses. Residents deserve to know what is being done to serve the worthy goals established for the city manager. 

If that public money were properly spent it could have brought down 10 abandoned homes in Sandusky neighborhoods and improved the quality of life for hundreds of residents. It could have been spent to clean the giant toilet that the old Surf's Up pool has become; it could have been spent to cut down 100 dead city trees; it could have been donated to a homeless shelter.

There are a hundred better ways to spend $100,000.

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