We can disband the Sandusky and Perkins police departments and reform them as the Sandusky Metropolitan Police Force.
This has been done in many areas across the country and most recently in Buffalo, N.Y. where the city and the county merged into one unit.
The police force would still have two chiefs, one for Perkins and one for Sandusky. A metropolitan board would include both chiefs, both city solicitors and a township trustee and a city comissioner. A seventh member would be elected by the board members as an arbitrator (normally a county judge) and would vote only to break any ties. Sandusky and Perkins would have matching contributions, shared dispatch and equipment as well as man power and administrators.
This brings everyone back to the bargaining board again as far as pay and benefits. Executive L. Brooks Patterson of Oakland County, Mich., hosts seminars on how to do this and he was able to get rid of his union by paying his officers more, letting them go to three, 13 1/2 hour days a week, in exchange for switching them to HealthCare Savings Accounts. He even funded the first $1,000 of the $2,500 account for each of them. He also dropped their pension and they now are vested in a mutual fund portfolio. The police really do not see a major decrease in benefits but it drastically reduces the cost to the city.
The same thing could be accomplished with the fire department as well. I used to live in Monroeville where we had a volunteer fire department and they raised a lot of money by having a Fireman's Festival. We should have one here next year, and a policemen's ball.
You could carry the concept to the street departments. Perkins and Sandusky could keep their separate identities and share resources where it benefits them. I think the biggest reason not to merge is people want to keep the schools separate and Perkins does not want to be saddled with government programs for the poor.
Jon P. Morrow