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Does the city have a transparency problem or just a lack of communication?

Register • Aug 19, 2014 at 2:29 PM

At the last city commission meeting, I asked if there was a verbal agreement to include Sandusky in a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the curbside program. The president told me there was a verbal agreement. Later in the same meeting, the city manager admitted he actually signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).


According to the MOU (public document), it was signed two weeks ago, on July 30, with just the signature of the city manager. Up until now, nothing had been mentioned to the public about the curbside RFP. Much to everyone’s surprise, an MOU was signed and the commission didn’t bother to tell us about the action being taken. 


Usually, when the president of council signs off on agreements, it demonstrates the fact that deliberations were done publicly, with a majority of commissioners approving the action taken, so the president can apply his legal signature attesting to that fact.


Without the process in place, how else are the rest of the commissioners and the public to know what action was taken? The commissioners do the legislating and the city manager follows through with the instructions given to him by the commissioners — so when did the commissioners instruct the city manager to sign an MOU? 


It is discouraging to hear through other sources what is happening in the city. It could have been possible that curbside legislation would have been introduced at the end of the year and none of us would have known anything about what was developing. The contract, if accepted by the entities, is due to go into effect Jan. 16. 


In the same meeting, there was another MOU that did come before the commission for signoff, so why were the two MOUs treated differently with the two different signatures? It is difficult to understand if seven commissioners are directing the city manager or just a couple of commissioners are doing the instructing. The lack of deliberation before the public by all seven commissioners is disconcerting. How do the commissioners build trust when the commission does not keep us informed?


I think most people thought the recycle bins would solve the problem when the city entered into a five-year agreement with a hauler to manage the bins. By retaining the recycle bins, it keeps the county from pushing Sandusky into the curbside program.


I don’t think the recycle bins have been given a fair chance so problems can be worked out before looking at the curbside program. 


There is nothing wrong with the city exploring the advantages and disadvantages of curbside pickup in order to arrive at a decision that will benefit everyone concerned, but the public should be able to hear what our commissioners are saying about the subject and give the public ample time to discuss and respond.

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