Nuesse: City derailed joint dispatch

SANDUSKY Kim Nuesse once again took the stand in her own defense. For nearly five hou
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Kim Nuesse once again took the stand in her own defense.

For nearly five hours Tuesday, she testified about a broad range of topics, including a potential joint dispatch system, grants, and her final days as police chief.

For complete coverage of the Nuesse saga, click HERE.

In her discussion of dispatch, and with evidence presented by her attorney, K. Ronald Bailey, she depicted a local political scene rife with ulterior motives.

In an e-mail from January 2007, Lyons told Dennis Murray state law required that Lyons must run any countywide dispatch system.

But in an e-mail the following month, city law director Don Icsman said he researched Lyons’ claim and discovered it wasn’t true.

Yet four months later, county commissioner Tom Ferrell, on a video played by Bailey, repeated to the Sandusky city commission that state law mandated Lyons would run any countywide system.

In an e-mail from then-city manager Mike Will to the city commissioners, Will summed up Lyons’ lack of cooperation:

“I feel like I’m on the playground with the kid who either gets to play his way or he takes his ball and goes home,” Will wrote.

Nuesse said she and then-Perkins police Chief Tim McClung wanted a council of governments to run the system with a professional, independent dispatch administrator as chief operator.

She said it can become a “turf battle” if a single law enforcement official controls a joint dispatch venture.

In the fall and winter of 2007 and early 2008, as the county started exploring other options, e-mails showed the city manager and commission told Nuesse to keep working toward a joint dispatch system with Perkins.

On Jan. 15, 2008, commissioner Dennis Murray sent an e-mail to Nuesse and new city manager Matt Kline, which told Nuesse and Kline to continue stressing that the city still supported county dispatch.

But Kline didn’t seem interested in joint dispatch, Nuesse said. She repeatedly invited him to dispatch meetings — which e-mails confirmed—but Kline never attended. When she tried to speak with him about the issues, he changed the subject, she said.

On Feb. 12, 2008, the city commission promised Perkins trustees they’d have a contract in two weeks for a joint dispatch system. Kline tasked fire Chief Mike Meinzer with writing the contract, instead of Nuesse. The decision baffled her.

“What I was thinking at the time was, ‘Why was Mike Meinzer tasked with writing a contract for Perkins and Sandusky, when he had been vocally opposed to it since August 2007 and stated that openly?’” she said.

On Feb. 25, at the next city commission meeting, Meinzer said he still hadn’t written the contract.

That same night, commissioner Brian Crandall asked whether the city’s dispatch system “was on the verge of collapse.” According to a video played as evidence, Nuesse twice said the system was not on the verge of collapse, and residents weren’t in danger. She said the hardware was approaching its life expectancy, however, and they should start formulating plans to replace it.

Nuesse also offered to piece together a proposal for the next night — not a contract, but something they could at least present to Perkins trustees.

The next morning, she e-mailed Kline, Meinzer and Icsman to ask for input about the proposal.

At 2:30 p.m., she went to the fire station with assistant Chief Charlie Sams, which they were told was a meeting to discuss dispatch.

After Crandall questioned Nuesse about dispatch and Stahl said she misled them, Stahl, Murray and Crandall sent out a press release stating they were no longer interested in a joint dispatch system.

Nuesse’s attorney asked how they could come to this conclusion when fewer than half of the commissioners were present.

After the meeting, she tried to reach commissioner Brett Fuqua, the police liaison. She then called commissioner Dan Kaman, who said he was upset he hadn’t been notified about the meeting.

Later, Nuesse asked Matt Kline if her job was on the line, and Kline said it wasn’t.

On Feb. 29, however, after the Register published a story about Crandall conducting an investigation, Kline came into her office and told her she shouldn’t have spoken with the newspaper.

“Everyone thinks there’s an investigation going on, so I’m going to have to investigate you,” he said, according to Nuesse’s testimony.

Nuesse asked what she was being investigated for.

“Idon’t know,”Kline responded, according to Nuesse. “But I have to investigate you because now everyone thinks there’s an investigation going on.”

Ten day later, he placed Nuesse on administrative leave.

She will continue testifying on Tuesday beginning at 9 a.m.