After a relatively mellow Day 1 in the Kim Nuesse civil service hearing, Day 2 quickly turned ugly.
In two hours of morning testimony, interim police Chief Charlie Sams skewered fired police Chief Nuesse, accusing her of chronic dishonesty and erratic behavior.
Sams described in detail about a half-dozen incidents in which he said he caught Nuesse telling lies, and said he supported the city’s decision to fire her.
“It became apparent thesituation was intolerable,” Sams said. “There were just so many untruths.”
Sams recalled one incident in which Nuesse confessed to lying in front of then-city manager Don Miears:
The incident involved the Sandusky Police Department’s Web site. Sams thought the Web site was “boring” and asked Chief Nuesse if he could build a new one. Nuesse gave him permission.
Upon completion, he showed her the Web site, and “(Nuesse) said it’s great. She loved it.”
But Kelly Kresser, the city’s administrative assistant, didn’t love it. Kresser, who was in charge of the city’s Web site, complained to Miears that Sams went behind her back to build a new one.
Miears met with Nuesse to discuss the issue, and Nuesse told Miears she hadn’t give Sams permission to build a new Web site — she wasn’t even aware it had been made.
“So Miears called me in and lectured me about the chain of command,” Sams said.
Sams told Miears he had followed the chain of command: Nuesse not only knew about the Web site, Sams said, but she had seen it and liked it. Miears turned to Nuesse and asked if this was true — if she had lied to him.
“Yes,” Nuesse answered.
The verbal battering came just one day after Nuesse, the city’s first female police chief, took the stand and withstood a barrage of confrontational questions from the city’s attorneys.
Nuesse answered nearly every charge levied against her during five hours of testimony Monday, providing plausible explanations and candid answers to all of city attorney Sue Porter’s questions.
But Sams and Lt. Phil Frost — who also testified for Sandusky on Tuesday — depicted her as uncooperative and unethical.
At one point Sams described trying to obey Nuesse’s orders while following police department regulations as “a delicate balancing act.”
Sams said Nuesse stymied positive relationships and blocked the flow of information with the Erie County Sheriff’s office and Erie County Prosecutor’s office because of personal issues with Sheriff Terry Lyons and prosecutor Kevin Baxter.
“I told her, ‘You need to bury the hatchet (with Baxter). It needs to be taken care of,’” Sams said. “But she said she knew Baxter had leaked information about her domestic issues. That’s how the Register found out. And she wasn’t going to (try to repair the relationship).”
Sams was referencing a June 8 article that reported Nuesse had filed a restraining order against her husband.
K. Ronald Bailey, Nuesse’s lawyer, did his best to discredit the city’s witnesses in cross-examination.
Sams said Nuesse removed laptops from police vehicles for all of 2007, but Bailey introduced a memo into evidence which said otherwise. It showed there were laptops in the vehicles in September 2007.
Bailey also pointed out — without rebuttal from the city — that a voided parking ticket, which is at the center of this hearing, actually belonged to the owner of the vehicle — in this case Sandusky, and not Nuesse, the driver. The city has flaunted the parking ticket as proof of Nuesse’s dishonesty.
On Tuesday, Judge Joseph Cirigliano announced future dates for the civil service hearing:
• Oct. 30 and 31
• Nov. 17, 19, 24 and 25
• Dec. 8, 9, 12, 22 and 23.
Subsequent dates will be determined after the New Year.
Cirigliano bemoaned the drawn-out nature of the hearing after the announcement.
“It’s hard to get these four lawyers to agree on any common dates, let alone back-to-back days,” he said.