If we're not going to talk publicly about merging dispatch operations between Sandusky and the Erie County Sheriff's office -- and any proponent of open, transparent government ought to expect and demand we do -- let's at least pick the option that saves the most money.
Combining emergency dispatch services began as a very credible effort to immediately reduce expenditures and improve services. More than two years later, Sandusky ex officio Mayor Stahl and Erie County commissioner Tom Ferrell have squandered the opportunity to save hundreds of thousands in taxpayer funds. And, as best we can tell, they have instead spent $100,000 to devise a proposal to spend up to $7 million on a dispatch center.
Can't know for sure, though. It's a secret.
We can be sure the $100,000 study essentially ignored, but ended up duplicating, the work of a citizens' committee that did the work for free.
The free study recommended the Sandusky-Perkins dispatch combination as a way to save money at the start and pave the way toward countywide dispatch if we wanted to go that way.
The expensive study -- well, it recommended countywide police, fire and EMT dispatch, with a Huron-Sandusky-Perkins combination as one of three alternatives, as reported in an Aug. 7, 2008, Register story.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Since then, Huron and Margaretta townships have merged dispatch operations with about the same level of complication and drama as one neighbor borrowing a weed-whacker from another.
Makes you wonder, indeed.
County study results story
Citizens committee study story