LOCAL VOICES: Haags gave city value for dollar

By TIM SCHWANGER, President, Save Our Shoreline Parks, Sandusky an
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

By TIM SCHWANGER, President, Save Our Shoreline Parks, Sandusky

and ARNOLD OLIVER, Treasurer, SOSP

Save Our Shoreline Parks would like to express our deep appreciation to Bob and Ruth Haag for their service to our community as both consultants to the city of Sandusky, as well as their tireless volunteer efforts. For years they have unstintingly given their time and talents to making Sandusky a better place.

At the same time, we share the concerns of Commissioners Kaman and Waddington about the wisdom, or lack thereof, of terminating the Haag's consulting contract with the city. The fact is that Bob and Ruth were among the small group of city employees who actually got things done; and in the few days since they were let go, a number of important projects have already begun to grind to a halt.

First, the Chesepeake walkway project may well bog down. Now that Bob and Ruth are out of the picture, someone from the city will have to supervise it. Similarly, the design process, as well as the construction, of the two plazas at the Chesepeake are now in limbo. Much to the Haags' credit, they have voluntarily continued to help out where they can -- by installing planters, for example.

Potentially even more problematic, the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant funds for the Chesapeake-Tricor-Keller site need to be carefully administered. If they are not, the city could well be forced to return a large portion of the money. That would mean still more of our tax dollars going down the tubes.

Furthermore, the Paper District Marina project may stall without proper site and planning preparation. Again, if Haag Environmental is not there to do it, someone from the city will have to step up and get the job done.

We understand that these are hard economic times, and that the taxpayers do not owe anyone a job. Nonetheless, we strongly believe Bob and Ruth Haag have given the city an excellent return on its investment in them.

Thus far, city officials have had nothing to say about how the Haag's will be replaced. It is almost as if they think the projects Bob and Ruth have been working on will get done by themselves. If that is what they are thinking, they are wrong.

Three of the city Commissioners who voted to terminate the Haag's contract will be up for election in November -- Bob Warner, Craig Stahl and Pervis Brown. If the work begun by Haag Environmental does not move forward by then, the voters ought to hold them accountable.