Nuesse: They're 'fishing'

SANDUSKY While city leaders remain silent, police Chief Kim Nuesse is speaking out. H
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

While city leaders remain silent, police Chief Kim Nuesse is speaking out.

Having turned in her gun and badge, Nuesse sat in blue jeans and a black jacket in a coffee shop on Friday morning.

With her fingers curled loosely around an orange mug, she spoke in a soft but confident tone about her paid suspension and the investigation into her "relationship with the truth."

"In my opinion it's a fishing expedition," she said.

Nuesse said she believes they're using the investigation to drum up accusations against her.

City manager Matt Kline said March 7 the police department as a whole made a verbal complaint that Nuesse created a hostile work environment.

"I had no choice but to place her on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation," Kline wrote in an e-mail to city commissioners Monday morning. "The investigation will include the hostile workplace accusations, Nuesse's ability to lead, her (decision-making) abilities, (and) her relationship to the truth, which, of course, would lead us to the question of ethics."

In the interim, Assistant Chief Charlie Sams is acting chief.

Nuesse said that since being on leave, officers from the department have contacted her to voice their support. Some of them are outraged by the accusations against her, she said.

She said she will absolutely continue to fight for her job.

As Nuesse sat in the coffee shop Friday morning, an older man with white hair and a thick winter jacket gave the chief a smile and crossed his fingers for her as he walked out the door.

Since she was placed on paid administrative leave, Nuesse said both she and her lawyer have been approached by people from all walks of life who have offered their support and encouragement.

"They feel I'm being targeted for political reasons over this dispatch," Nuesse said. "I can't disagree with it."

The background

On Feb. 26, Nuesse and Sams met with law director Don Icsman, Sandusky fire Chief Mike Meinzer, city commissioners Dennis Murray, Craig Stahl and Brian Crandall at the Sandusky fire department to continue ongoing discussions about dispatch services. Kline participated in the meeting by phone. Nuesse described the meeting as an "inquisition," and said Crandall's questioning was clearly part of an investigation.

Icsman said he could not discuss what transpired at that Tuesday afternoon meeting because of lawyer-client privilege.

Later that day, Murray, Stahl and Crandall announced their recommendation that the city should pursue joint dispatch with Erie County as opposed to Perkins Township.

Two weeks earlier, city leaders had expressed a desire to pursue joint dispatch with Perkins.

Nuesse, along with Perkins police Chief Tim McClung, had been a vocal advocate of joint dispatch with Perkins Township. McClung was later silenced by a gag order issued by township trustees, who wanted to wait for the results of a county study before pursuing a combined dispatch.

Nuesse said several weeks ago she was told by Erie County commissioner Tom Ferrell that she would do what her bosses told her to do, and McClung would do what his bosses told him to do, or they could face disciplinary action.

"This investigation with the chief quite frankly doesn't have anything to do with dispatch," Kline said. "It's more a reaction of how she reacted to that (Feb. 26) meeting ... but there's a lot more to it than that."

On Feb. 28, Kline said no one was in jeopardy with him. Little more than a week later, Nuesse found herself on a paid suspension.

Nuesse returned to town Monday morning from a week-long vacation.

She spent her scheduled vacation teaching police staff, command and police budgeting to students at Northwestern University.