Somewhere along the line wires got crossed.
Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse said Thursday she believed her job was in jeopardy because of a series of secret investigations conducted by commissioner Brian Crandall.
City Manager Matt Kline said Friday that Nuesse was overreacting, though she said he was the one who told her that her job was on the line. Some city leaders deny there was ever an investigation regarding Nuesse, but commissioner Brett Fuqua called Crandall’s inquiry a “bogus investigation.”
Nuesse had a scheduledvacation beginning Monday, so Kline told her to take an extra half day on Friday to think things over.
Kline met with commissioners Craig Stahl, Crandall, Fuqua and city law director Don Icsman for nearly an hour Friday morning at City Hall.
“We talked about how things have been mishandled withdispatch,” Kline said, adding that the lines of communication have broken down between the major players in the joint dispatch discussions.
“I don’t think it was any one person’s fault,” he said. “Everyone needs to communicate together.”
As he walked out of the city hall conference room Friday morning, Crandall deferred all questions to Kline. Crandall did not return later calls seeking comment.
• He said, she said...
Commission president Dennis Murray Jr. said Friday morning he is not aware of any investigations being conducted by city commissioners.
Nuesse offered a strikingly different perspective. She described Tuesday’s meeting at the fire station as an “inquisition.”
Nuesse said she and assistant police chief Charlie Sams went to the Sandusky fire station Tuesday afternoon for what they thought was going to be a meeting about joint dispatch.
Crandall, Murray, commission vice president Craig Stahl, Sandusky fire chief Mike Meinzer and city law director Don Icsman were all there.
Murray said they met with Meinzer at 2:30 p.m. Nuesse and Sams arrived at 3 p.m.
“It was clearly an investigation,” Nuesse said. “(Crandall) clearly had questions mapped out.”
Murray and Stahl at first said the meeting was cordial, then said it was professional at the least.
“It was by no means an investigation ... It’s puzzling to me that anyone would call that meeting an investigation,” Murray said.
While Murray and Stahl said there is not a target on Nuesse’s back, they would not say whether they’d give Nuesse a vote of confidence. Questions to them about Nuesse’s performance were met with silence.
“After the inquisition that my assistant chief and I endured Tuesday, I felt it best to start looking at retaining a personal attorney to protect myself,” Nuesse said Thursday night.
She has hired Sandusky attorney K. Ron Bailey to defend her against this “witch hunt.”
• Mending the dispatch divide
As the proposed dispatch plans with Perkins Township began to lose steam, communication among city leaders splintered.
Sandusky fire Chief Mike Meinzer was asked to work on a dispatch contract offer for Perkins that had been promised to the trustees by Stahl.
Instead of a contract proposal, Perkins trustees were given notification hours before their scheduled Tuesday meeting that Sandusky was going to pursue dispatch efforts with the county because Perkins was not willing to work on the city’s timetable.
Earlier in the week, Erie County commissioner Tom Ferrell approached Murray to discuss moving the city dispatch into the Erie County Sheriff’s facility.
Murray said that based on the information exchanged, moving in with the county would cost the city nothing.
Ferrell said that a written offer to the city would be premature at this point.
“There’s a lot of details to work out,” Ferrell said. “Our only interest was in helping (the city) in any way possible.”
Ferrell said Nuesse had always been professional during their interactions.
Commissioner Dave Waddington said the commission as a whole should have been kept up to speed on the dispatch developments.
“I feel like I’ve been away on holiday,” Waddington said.