Sandusky safety services study shot down

The city will not have an outside consultant analyze its police and fire departments. The city commission voted 5-1 Monday night against hiring the International City/County Management Association to analyze the efficiency of its safety services.
Jason Singer
May 25, 2010

The city will not have an outside consultant analyze its police and fire departments.

The city commission voted 5-1 Monday night against hiring the International City/County Management Association to analyze the efficiency of its safety services.

City commissioner Dave Waddington dissented. Commissioner Kim Nuesse was excused from the meeting for an out-of-state teaching assignment.

Julie Farrar, who led the charge against the analysis from its outset, kept her comments brief, and the commission followed her lead.

"I'm not going to rehash everything I've said since March 22," Farrar stated. "A (request for proposal) was not put out. It's money we do not have. If we're going to do something like this, we should put it out for bid."

The safety services analysis would have cost $63,500 and has generated a lot of debate within the last few months.

As opposed to call volume -- the statistic that most departments use -- the association has a unique software that measures the amount of time officers are actually working, consultant Leonard Matarese previously said.

Identifying a police or fire department's workload is paramount to making staffing decisions, he said.

"How can you make a proper decision without all the facts and data?" he asked.

Some of the commissioners who voted against the analysis, including Pervis Brown and John Hamilton, said they weren't opposed to an independent look at the city's safety services but said the city needed a full-time manager and department heads before proceeding with it.

Without the proper leaders in place, the city would have trouble implementing the recommendations of the analysis, they said.

Former city commissioner Bob Warner, who gave a profanity-dotted speech opposing the study, said if the city did the analysis, it should be put out for bid.

"I think it'd be kind of illegal," Warner said of allowing the study without putting it out for bid.

Interim city manager Don Icsman said the city didn't legally have to bid out the analysis. The agency offers a unique service with its workload software. He compared it to paying for a lawyer or financial consultant: If a person or company offers a specialized service, the city does not need to bid it out.

Jerry Garrett, representing the local chapter of the NAACP, spoke in favor of the analysis.

"The ICMA proposal provides the tools and the resources needed to make the critical decisions regarding our public safety forces," he said. "For far too long, we have let the status quo -- with questionable tools and comfort and familiarity -- dictate the direction of our public safety forces. This commission has the opportunity of new tools to guide us and move us forward."

Hamilton said he might consider some type of analysis in the future. But the interim fire and police chiefs and interim city manager were reasons to vote against the study.

"I can see the point where we do need somebody on the outside to look at this," he said, "but I don't think the time is right."

Comments

Clark W

Not a Sandusky resident, but I'm wondering...How many City Commision meetings has Ms. Nuesse missed this year? 

Public Official

 

Paying a professional consultant $63,000 for an objective analysis of operations is small change compared to the potential savings and efficiencies that could result. Having been in this business for over 30 years, and having watched the Sandusky Saga for almost three years, it is painfully apparent to me that the City of Sandusky is dire need of such advice. When communities refuse to go this route, it’s usually because they blindly think that their home grown departments heads know best how to do things, or there is something going on that they do not want to expose to the light of day. In either case, it is the taxpayers who get the short shrift, ironically in the name of saving taxpayers’ dollars by not "wasting" them on a study.
Exxcellent

Did you live stream the meeting yesterday? If so, where can I find it? Thanks.

Julie R.

Looks to me like the former city commissioner, Bob Warner, "who gave a profanity-dotted speech opposing the study" is still running the show here.

observer8234

First answer to your question clark, she has missed probably about half of them!!!!!

Second its about time the commissioners see what is good for the city at this time!!!!  You claim you are out of money so now is not the time for the study, maybe in the future when things are more figured out but right now you can't spend 68k when you have so many police laid off, it just isn't right and this is coming from a taxpaying citizen.

Kudos to the commission for voting for something right, I don't know what you were thinking though Waddington???

Now lets see what the commission can work out with the Police Department to get some of the Police back for the busy times when we need the police this summer.  Kaman and the rest of the commission I urge you to work with the PD to see what can be worked out to bring back some Police, god knows we need them right now!!!!!

Woody Hayes

It's refreshing to see a different comissioner on the front page of the SR than looking at the "dirty blonde".

Julie R.

I thought the city of Sandusky wanted CHANGE? If so, why does it appear like the same ones are running the show? Considering how Warner was behind the waste of money $30,000.00 paint job, wonder why he is so opposed to this $60,000.00 study? Are they afraid that Kim Nuesse is going to turn the city of Sandusky around at long last or is Public Official right on target in saying there just might be something going on that they don't want to expose to the light of day?

Exxcellent

As much as Nuesse is absent, it is becoming apparent to me that we really don't need 7 commissioners.

I do agree that we don't need to take advice from pink painter Warner. The guy couldn't even get elected. Go home.

observer8234

Julie R.

A very similar study was done several years ago, and they haven't been able to apply all of those cost saving cuts because of the unfair cuts which were made.

concernedsubject

I as a taxpaying citizen of sandusky am proud of the commission for not wasting that money.  As observer said, they had an outside study done several years ago as Julie Farrar said with a lot of documentation to prove it.  The PD and FD were implementing those cuts but it's hard to do for the PD when they are cut to bare bone minimum.

I heard the police scanner they are running like crazy right now because they do not have enough officers, this is a safety risk to both the officers and to citizens.  They need to take that money and hire back some police because it obvious they were unfairly cut, cmon the proof is there 14 from the pd and 2 from the FD give me a break!!!!!

I don't want to hear the citizens complaining this summer when response times are down or someone gets hurt, becuase they need to stand up to the commission and prove they want the protection they are paying for instead of having the commission dictate what is going to happen because Nuesse wants it that way!!!! 

Julie R.

Any news on the Nuesse case yet or haven't the Cleveland attorneys made enough Erie County money yet?  Or maybe the city is busy dotting all the "i's" and crossing all the "t's" before they make the decision public----sort of like the "special prosecutors" and Fantozz did with all those back taxes that were forgiven.