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Commission-shrinking proposal postponed

Andy Ouriel • Apr 29, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Sandusky city commissioners postponed a scheduled discussion and a possible vote to shrink the government.

Sandusky ex officio mayor Dennis Murray Jr. had said he’d introduce legislation Monday to reduce the number of elected commissioners from seven to five.

But the ex officio mayor, one of seven commissioners, backtracked during a public meeting.

“The legislation needed a bit more work” he said.

Commissioners didn’t announce when discussions and a possible vote could occur. In past interviews, almost every commissioner supported downsizing commission. Before commission becomes smaller, however, a couple of things must happen:

•At least four of the seven commissioners would need to approve Murray’s proposal through a public vote.

•Residents, during an election, would determine if they want five or seven commissioners. A citywide vote could come as soon as November.

Hypothetically, if approved, the soonest a reduction could happen would be in fall 2015, when four of seven city commission seats are up for election for terms set to start in January 2016.

“Instead of four positions being elected, two would be elected,” Murray said. “Commissioners will still have four-year terms and be elected on a staggered basis”

The commissioners up for election come fall 2015: Jeff Smith — who voiced opposition to shrinking the government — Wes Poole and Scott Schell.

Commissioner Julie Farrar can’t run again due to term limits, making her seat open for someone else to occupy.

Murray, as well as commissioners Dick Brady and Naomi Twine, all just won four-year terms beginning in January, and each can remain on commission through 2017.

Since 1980, seven city residents have constituted the commission. Before 1980, five people served as commissioners.

Five commissioners, as opposed to seven, could also mean each elected official obtains a small boost in pay. Commissioners today make about $5,200 a year, or $100 a week, with the ex officio mayor receiving $6,400 annually.

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