In November 2007, three employees of the city of Sandusky's Community Housing Improvement Program were put on paid administrative leave.
The city hired an outside investigator to look into possible irregularities in the handling of this program.
A subsequent probe by the Ohio Department of Development uncovered some disturbing results -- sloppy paperwork, incomplete or shoddily executed projects and mismangaed funds.
To date, the city has paid these employees $49,824 for not working. Add to that their employee benefits and the investigator's fee.
Consider the future ramifications of the mishandling of this program.
n Possible pay back of grant money.
n Money to fix what contractors were supposed to fix but didn't.
n Possible loss of future grants.
This is a hefty chunk of change for a cash-strapped city to shell out.
We don't know at this point if these infractions are the result of laziness, negligence, general incompetence or worse.
But we do know many people were shortchanged by this fiasco -- their employers, the taxpayers, the conscientuous people who work tirelessly to genuinely try to better the city and, most of all, the very people they were entrusted to help.
If any or all of these employees are guilty of botching a program designed to help cities and its citizens, they should be cut loose. Not another penny of our money should be spent on their wages.
If they are without blame, get them back to work earning those wages and figure out who IS responsible for this mess.