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City commissioners meeting Monday

Andy Ouriel • May 9, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Two major items slated for discussion at Monday’s Sandusky city commission meeting could revolutionize how the city government looks and operates in the future:

Sandusky city manager

At noon, during a private meeting, commissioners plan on convening to conduct in-person interviews with all five finalists vying for Sandusky’s top government job.

This past week, commissioners announced the finalists from a pool of 60-plus applicants vying to become city manager.

The five finalists include:

•Rebecca Corrigan, a Cleveland resident who works as Sandusky’s chief planner.

•Ted Andrzejewski, an Eastlake resident who’s also Eastlake’s mayor and safety director.

•Jack Haney, a Newton Falls resident, near Youngstown, who’s also Newton Falls’ city manager.

•Fred Ramos, a Seven Hills resident, located south of Cleveland, who’s an attorney.

•Eric Wobser, a Cleveland resident who works as the executive director for Ohio City Inc.

Commissioners previously said they’ll likely fill the vacant position by the end of this month.

An opening occurred after commissioners fired Nicole Ard based on her failure to perform job duties as city manager.

Commissioners hired Ard in fall 2011 with the approval of a consulting firm paid more than $20,000 in city funds. Ard obtained about $129,000 a year. This time, commissioners opted against using a search firm and decided to perform the ongoing search process themselves.

It’s not known how much the next city manager could receive, since commissioners plan to create an incentive-laden contract, in which the person could obtain more money based on accomplishing certain tasks.

Shrinking commission?

After postponing a late April vote, commissioners seem ready to weigh in on whether or not to downsize their government.

Legislation on Monday calls for shrinking the number of elected commissioners from seven to five.

In past interviews, almost every commissioner supported downsizing the commission.

Before this happens, however, these triggers must first happen in order:

•At least five of the seven commissioners would need to approve this proposal through a public vote. Officials previously told the Register they needed approval from four out of seven commissioners to proceed.

•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,” Sandusky ex officio mayor Dennis Murray Jr. 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.

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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