When you pay $20,000 for an opinion, it had better say what you want.
The city of Sandusky, city manager Matt Kline and law director Don Icsman got what they ordered from Murman and Associates -- permission to fire their strong-headed chief of police, Kim Nuesse.
From our perspective, there was little surprise in the report issued last week recommending that "unless you intend to replace the entire command structure of the police department, (Nuesse) should not be reinstated as chief of police."
When you ask someone to give you damning information about their boss, a boss who was asked specifically to change the department, you will get it.
The citizens panel that recommended Kim Nuesse for this job nearly two years ago did so specifically because she was an outsider -- both to the department and to the Erie County law enforcement community. They wanted a fresh perspective, higher standards and better operations.
Frankly, you don't get those results unless you make changes -- and we don't like change so much, it turns out. Change in staff, change in structure, change in duties and standards. Change in the relationships with the county prosecutor, the sheriff, and Perkins Township.
Apparently, too much change, or challenging too much of the entrenched powers that have yielded our progressive, growing and economically thriving region -- oh, wait, that's not us ...
If you can get past the bad grammar, misspellings and sloppy presentation of the report's executive summary (or for those brave enough, the even worse quality of the full report), you will read a tale that sounds as if it was written by a fifth-grader complaining about how the kids on the playground didn't like her.
You won't read a professional report with balanced interviews and solid arguments.
Apparently, a fact-based and well-written report costs more.
The next few days will be interesting as our city commissioners posture -- most having already washed their hands of this by declaring, "Well, you know this is Kline's decision, we won't interfere with whatever he wants to do."
Sounds to us like they are building a solid wall between themselves and the city manager. Perhaps if they don't like the outcome of this whole escapade, they will order an investigation of him.
If they do, we suggest they spring for a more expensive, more professional version. It's less likely to result in the costly settlement we fear a jury will award the possibly soon-to-be former chief, Kim Nuesse.