Waddington praises Nuesse's honesty, not Kline's

SANDUSKY In the morning session of the Kim Nuesse Civil Service hearing, city commissioner Dave Wadd
jasonsinger
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

In the morning session of the Kim Nuesse Civil Service hearing, city commissioner Dave Waddington said fired police chief Nuesse was always open and honest with him.

He didn't say the same about city manager Matt Kline.

Waddington said Kline lied to him about investigating Nuesse.

In late February, Waddington, fellow commissioner Dan Kaman and Nuesse had a meeting at McDonald's to discuss Nuesse's concerns about her job being in jeopardy.

Earlier that week, in the presence of other commissioners, then-city commissioner Brian Crandall had questioned Nuesse at the firehouse. Three days later, with Nuesse concerned about her job, Kline suggested she take the rest of the day off to regroup.

While at McDonald's, the trio called Kline and put him on speaker phone. Kaman asked Kline if he was investigating Nuesse.

"No," Kline said. "We're not there yet."

"But did you later find out what (Kline) said what not true?" K. Ronald Bailey, Nuesse's attorney, asked Waddington.

"I would say yes," Waddington said. "I would just say looking back a few days later, it was quite obvious (she was under investigation)."

Waddington lauded Nuesse for her work during her tenure. He said she improved relations with the minority community and increased transparency within the department.

He also praised her programs that dealt with Sandusky city schools, where he works.

But he said it would be "tough" for her to return as Sandusky's police chief.

In the morning session, longtime Sandusky police officers Dana Newell and Major Ruffin, both black men, also testified. They said discrimination within the department had deterred them from taking the sergeant's exam prior to Nuesse's arrival. Ruffin is a 19-year veteran of the force, and Newell has served 13 years.

Both said after they expressed their concerns to Nuesse, she successfully stopped the discrimination.

Later in the day, Hank Solowiej, the city's senior accountant, testified about $28,000 in grant funds spent on wireless technology.

Nuesse told the federal government she spent $28,000, while city officials have said they couldn't find a single document proving she spent one cent.

That's one of the four fireable offenses they say she committed.

On Friday, Bailey produced $13,000 worth of bills from Sprint, as well as other budget requests for VPN routers and maintenance on the CODY system, which would all be used on wireless.

But Solowiej and the city's attorneys said these were requests and weren't necessarily purchased.

They also showed, using documentation as evidence, that Nuesse paid those Sprint bills using the department's general operating bank account, not the city's grant account.

Bailey noted the city's grant bank account doesn't have any money, and the government only reimburses the police after the department makes purchases.

"When you get the phone bill from Sprint, you have to pay it," he told Solowiej. "You got no money, zero dollars, in the grant account. There's nothing that says you can't take money out of the general expense account," then apply for reimbursement, and then put that money back into the general expense account.

"There's nothing prohibiting that," Solowiej conceded. But he also said that's "not the norm," and Nuesse never told him she was doing that.