Paid leave and a probe.
That's what city officials handed police Chief Kim Nuesse on March 10, and they should bring that investigation to a swift conclusion.
City manager Matt Kline and law director Don Icsman botched this probe from the very beginning, and they seem to be making it up as they go along.
A week before Kline ordered Nuesse out he denied there was any bad blood or that anyone's job was "on the line." That doesn't square with what Nuesse described as a direct threat one week prior to when the ax fell.
Kline has talked on this issue from both sides of his mouth, but nothing he said sounds plausible. No complaints had been filed against Nuesse so he had a difficult time describing why an investigation was launched.
Kline had a "difficult relationship with the truth" on that one.
A proper investigation would take a critical and independent look at Kline's actions in the weeks before he suspended Nuesse. A proper probe also would include an independent and probing review of Icsman's potential culpability in this mess.
Icsman has been around long enough to know better. But he doesn't. He failed to respond to a public records request from the Register concerning a Feb. 26 meeting he conducted with Nuesse, fire Chief Mike Meinzer, Kline and city commissioners Dennis Murray Jr., Craig Stahl and Brian Crandall, a retired firefighter. Some records were produced but the request for meeting notes and other documents was simply ignored by the law director, an apparent violation of the state public records law.
The city's best option is to return Nuesse to headquarters. Expand the probe to get to the truth or end this bogus investigation now. Finish up the housing probe and act on the chain-of-command breakdown in the Sandusky Fire Department identified in that investigation.
Icsman, Kline and any city commissioners who plan to play along with this charade need to quit making it up as you go along. It's not too late to do the right thing.