Lt. Phil Frost: Nuesse was 'super crazy'

SANDUSKY Even with a presidential candidate in town, Day 3 of Kim Nuesse's civil service hearing had
May 24, 2010



Even with a presidential candidate in town, Day 3 of Kim Nuesse's civil service hearing had plenty of fireworks.

K. Ronald Bailey, Nuesse's attorney, cross-examined two Sandusky police officers, which led to several heated exchanges.

In morning testimony, Lt. Phil Frost accused Nuesse of falsifying grants. He also described Nuesse as "super crazy" in the final weeks of her tenure.

"I saw some really scary stuff," Frost said. "I saw someone that I'd never seen before. Just like super paranoid. Just -- it's freaky. I described it like one of those horror movies with someone's head spinning around. She kept saying, 'They're out to get me. They're out to get the assistant chief.' Just super crazy."

The city also presented a document, signed by Nuesse, which said the fired police chief had spent $28,075 of grant money on wireless software at the end of 2006. Frost said that wasn't true.

"Right away, I just knew -- from my knowledge -- this could not be accurate," he said. "There's no way we spent $28,075 in that period. There's no way we spent $28,075 ever."

Bailey responded by attacking Frost's credibility. He submitted two performance evaluations -- both from superior officers -- which criticized Frost for detrimental negativity. One report, a 1997 evaluation, said Frost "exudes negativity."

Bailey also noted two letters of reprimand in Frost's police file. One letter cites Frost for violence to a prisoner, and the other cites him for knowingly letting officers violate department policy. Frost said the latter reprimand was incorrectly issued.

The lieutenant was noticeably irked by the attacks. He gritted his teeth, twiddled his thumbs or tensely chuckled every time Bailey submitted evidence or objected to answers.

They tried shouting over each other several times.

After Frost finished, retired Det. Don Rumbutis testified for the city. Rumbutis, the department's computer expert, described Nuesse as a poor leader who blindly favored a joint-dispatch system with Perkins Township.

He said Nuesse made him spend weeks researching different dispatch systems, even though he felt she had already decided on Emergetech, Perkins' system.

"I felt like I was her patsy," he said. "Why are you wasting my time? Why wasn't I invited (to a meeting with Perkins police about their dispatch system)? It just wasn't right."

He said the Cody system, which Sandusky used, was better than Emergetech for Sandusky's needs, but Nuesse didn't care.

Bailey rebutted that Rumbutis was unethically tied to Cody. The lawyer submitted an e-mail into evidence from a fellow officer, Gary Lyons, which said Rumbutis and Lyons wanted to retire and go into business with Cody in the near future.

"Is that what the e-mail says?" Bailey asked Rumbutis, showing him the correspondence.

Rumbutis tried to explain. Bailey pressed him for a yes or no answer.

"We may have talked about it," Rumbutis finally shouted, "but you see me here and now, and I'm not doing anything with Cody! (Lyons) is -- or did -- but I don't!"

The exchange became so volatile that hearing officer Joseph Cirigliano asked Rumbutis to settle down.

He did, and so did the hearing when Sandusky fire Chief Mike Meinzer briefly took the stand at the end of the day. Round 4 is today.