Firefighters on the hot seat

Layoffs could hit Sandusky fire department
Andy Ouriel
Dec 29, 2012



Richard Patterson’s path to land his dream job rivaled the difficulties aspiring doctors or lawyers face when obtaining their 
“I spent four years looking for a job, took 30 civil service tests and competed with hundreds of people for one position,” Patterson said.
Finally in June 2011, Sandusky officials fulfilled Patterson’s dream when they swore him in as the department’s newest firefighter and paramedic.
“This was probably one of the biggest things for me,” Patterson said.
But a grant subsidizing Patterson and five others firefighters’ salaries, will expire in three months — and city officials have no concrete plan to keep them employed after March.
The Department of Homeland Security awarded Sandusky fire with a $1 million grant in March 2011, covering two years of salaries for six firefighters.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, helped secure the grant for Sandusky.
The grant allowed city officials to increase department staffing levels to 53 firefighters, all capable of executing emergency-relief services to those facing life-threatening situations.
Beginning in March, however, the city needs to find $280,000 in an already tight budget to keep six city firefighters on the force beyond 2013.
The six firefighters total salary, including wages and benefits, equals roughly $380,000 a year. The grant will cover the first $100,000 through 2013’s first quarter.
City officials said they’ll pursue acquiring another grant.
But in this fiscal climate — as the nation’s debt continues to escalate beyond $16.4 trillion— it’s a rather low possibility they’ll get federal dollars for local firefighters.
Read more in Saturday's Register.



My sympathy goes out to Mr. Patterson. Have the other firefighters considered giving a percentage of their salary to keep Mr. Patterson? Folks, the endless supply of government money is coming to an end. Policemen, firemen and teachers along with other government employees will be losing their jobs. It's going to get ugly.


Call Kaptur, she helped land this grant... Oh wait, the election is over, she will be absent from the area for another 18 months...sorry.


$1 million covered only two years' salaries, and now they make a collective $380k per year. Here's another article with fuzzy math and the reporter didn't ask where the rest of the money went.


SB5 helped fix this too. So sad it got overturned that people at the bottom are being cut off to give the ones at the top theirs


"Workers", actual "workers" are the ones always getting ripped off. Total 10 years of wage freezes to save from union workers where I work. Still no money? Has anyone looked at the top? What is their salary? How many are there? What do they do to save? Are they all needed? Maybe it's time to look there for savings?



Are you starting with the President when you look to the top? How about our senators and representatives at the federal and state level? How about the levels of bureaucracy within our local government, police department, fire department and school system?


The dominos are falling. The federal government is cutting back funds for the local level. The state government is cutting back funds for the local level.

It's up to the local level to maintain services.

Can we just tax the rich in the Sandusky area? Yeah, that's it tax the rich. Those darn rich need to share their wealth to continue resources the middle class has become accustom to having all their lives.

We can tax all the businesses out of the area. Then we can complain of no jobs.

I hope you are all prepared for what's coming down the road. There will be an increase in crime as those on entitlement will have their resources cut. Government employees will demonstrate in the streets because their is no money to support their jobs. Just like Greece.

Those who have prepared will survive. Those who have lived their lives on personal responsibility will survive.

My only suggestion to those not ready. Get rid of your debt. Whether it be credit cards, car loans or house loan.


The middle class is just supposed to keep on taking the hits~harder and harder~over and over and over. Tell me where is the right in that?? Good luck to you firefighters~WE do NEED each and EVERY ONE of YOU! WE NEED people that actually DO the job whether people admit it or not. Cut at the management level for a change? Not just here but EVERY job! Afterall if there are no workers left~ where will management be? No workers? No need.


"Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."


Is there any firefighters that are up for retirement that can retire and the city not replace them until they can see their way clear to hire firefighters when they have the money available.


The Department of Homeland Security awarded Sandusky fire about $1,067,000 to cover two years of salaries for six firefighters, said Steve Fought, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo.

Two firefighters laid off in March 2010 will be rehired in the coming weeks, while four new firefighters will be hired to fill positions left vacant after retirements.

Unlike many federal grants that require cities to pony up money to match any award, this grant comes without strings attached.

Jan 27, 2011

Swamp Fox

Its unfortunate for the firemen being laid off but, its clear when you take these grants they are for 3 years, non renewable with the local goverment responsible to pay the officers from that point forward.


What a sad, tortuous world you live in donutdude.



Why would you believe I live in a sad tortuous world?


Maybe Taxpayer will give back part of his pension check to save those jobs???


Where has TAXPAYER been anyway??


Where has TAXPAYER been anyway??

Whiskey Tango F...

taxpayer had to shut off his internet due to over taxation and lack of work.




Yes bearcat. We could post this comment on all the teacher cuts and police and fire...etc The leaders tricked the young union people to put signs in their yard to overturn sb5. They might as well put lay me off signs in their yards


Swamp Fox is right. Everybody KNEW the grant was temporary. Everybody KNEW the City would either use it to hire short term, or would have to find a way to keep employees long term. And now it's a crisis? Please. The only crisis is those who can't believe there's not yet another government handout waiting in the wings and who will do pretty much anything to get one.

SB5 would have been a HUGE help, but the people who simply cannot believe that the government money spigot is running dry refuse in their greed to do anything but demand more and more and more. Know what? The "more" stops just as soon as the people who can't afford to have any more taken from them stand up and do something about it.

Want to REALLY be offended? Consider that Obama just gave a whole boatload of federal employees raises, and he used an Executive Order to do it. Thanks so much, Obama voters! Meanwhile, the fiscal cliff looms, the deficit is out of control (because the SPENDING is out of control), a stack of Obamacare taxes start as of January 1, and anybody who works for a living is pretty much scr3wed. Happy New Year!


Marcy got this Grant and gave the commissioners time to budget the salaries. They didn't. This is exactly like giving someone money who can't afford to pay their bills and expect them to pay you back. If they didn't have the money in the first place, what makes you think they can ever get ahead??? Borrow, borrow, borrow. Now you're back where you started, only worse. We need these people, but unfortunately the coffers are dry. You'll never get ahead spending more than you make. Pray nothing burns.


You're right on all counts. It seems the Commissioners are of the same mindset that too many "regular" citizens enjoy: They think money like this is "free" and the source of it endless despite the advance warnings otherwise.

Does Sandusky need more firefighters and/or EMTs? I have no idea where the line is drawn between "need" and "it'd be nice." I don't see how more safety officers is a bad thing, and I feel sorry for those who will be directly affected by layoffs. At the same time, my dad always taught me that if you can't afford something, you shouldn't buy it. I know that seems really obvious, but it's surprising how many people seem stunned in the end when they do just that!

I'd also point out that, when you buy things you can't afford and the payments come due, it only makes any budgetary woes that much worse. The government at ALL levels has been spend, spend, spending for years without thought. And NOW it can't figure out why shortfalls exist, or what to do about them? A delay in the payments ("no interest 'til 2015!" or "no payments 'til next year!") may seem awesome in the short term, but the bills still come due. The lack of planning on the part of the City where these employees are concerned is a prime example of just how foolish such "deals" can be if ALL of the repercussions aren't considered. You know, like responsible people would?

The Big Dog's back

We did OK before the Bush tax cuts. Since then the country went downhill.

Dr. Information

How you like all this Hope and Change.....Bahahahaha.

The Big Dog's back

Love it! How about you?


Big dog name.small brain game

Dr. Information

Glad you like it Big Dog, I mean government suckers like you would.

I was given a new stock tip but people like you don't invest, you just take. You can find it on the DJ as GS (Government Suckers)........10 year outlook is a Schawb A rating. 20 year.....A+.
Invest now.


Just what the dr ordered for big dog.

Paul E. Ricci

As a fire chief, I am tasked with putting the best possible service on the street with the resources that are provided. That being said, I must also put a service on the street that provides the highest levels of safety to the men and women of the Sandusky Fire Department. I read these postings with great interest because they do offer perspective. With perspective, comes an opportunity to grow. That is why, I engage readers, without anonymity, into the perplexing and challenging field of public safety. My invitation to you is to come to my office any weekday, 8-5, to seek the answers to that what concerns you. You may also call at 419-627-5822. We have many challenges facing us in 2013. Rest assured, we will be on the job for you and your loved ones. Have a Happy New Year and may it be a healthy and safe one. Chief Paul E. Ricci


Thanks for the invitation! I'd take you up on it if I had questions or problems with the way the Fire Department itself is run, but I don't. If it wasn't clear from my comments, let me make it so: My issues have been, and continue to be, with the City leadership from the Commissioners to the (nominal) Manager.

I have absolutely no complaints with the way you've run your department, and if it helps, I haven't heard complaints from anybody I've talked to, either. I'm sure that a part of your job is to ensure that we're all as safe as possible (including your men and women), and that you're to convey that to those who actually sign off on budgetary matters. If you can show that the City actually NEEDS these five employees, then it's up to the Commission, etc. to figure out how to pay for it.

Here's an open suggestion to City leaders: Police and Fire are non-negotiable. So's road safety and the water/sewer infrastructure. Everything else? Well, that can come or go as it's affordable. Parks, parties, remodeling, administrative support staff, even raises. If priorities need to be made (and a responsible budget would do that as a matter of course regardless of financial health), safety comes LONG before flowers! Sorry, but am I wrong?


Thank you Paul for being open. The problem is our governor saw this coming and helped fix it. Then the unions got all their families and friends to overturn sb5. We dont blame you and thank you for doing your job. We just cant do anything now that it was overturned.

DEEPsix's picture

Paul, you are doing a great job from all accounts, and its a sad state of affairs that WE all are under this financial crunch. You are a man who grew up in Huron, hearing the siren going off for the volunteers to come to station, and going to help those who needed help. I think that sound as you were growing up embued a sense of "I have to help" long ago. With these budget issues, its time to ask, those who have received in the past their due, to now offer to help again. I have never met a fireman, or any other first responder, who was in the biz for money. So, maybe those on retirement can help a little again. It's time to ask everyone, lets help... but it isnt time to demand WE THE PEOPLE ask government to be our first responder. Everyone across the board must step up. Maybe to the point Sandusky adds VOLUNTEERS to the force across the city.
you knew my dad well, my whole family, and my dad served HFD for 30 yrs. As a volunteer.

Dinghy Gal

Cudos for Paul.


As a Start, COLLECT the $2800 that is owed to the city by the Erie County Democratic Party for Obama's private party during the campaign. That's the first 1% without any new taxes.


I believe the use of volunteers to supplement the government workers is a great idea.

Fire Departments started out as a volunteer service in this country. Nothing wrong with giving back to your community through effort rather than increased taxes.

The unlimited flow of government money is coming to an end. Hope the Chief understands and takes the necessary steps to keep his department a value to the community not a burden.

Dinghy Gal

Guess what, volunteers still have to be trained and still get paid.


Yep, but the pay and benefits for a volunteer are not even close to a full time government employee.


I think Sandusky needs to take a look at running a joint fire district with Perkins and also take a look at the City of Ashland who supplements fire service with volunteers. A combination department that utilize a volunteer service as part of their fulltime service to get the staffing and protection the city and surrounding community needs. Just my thoughts and prospective... take a look around as funding decreases, thinking outside the box, consolidation, and creative uses of resources must increase!

Swamp Fox

Volunteers? Wonder what the union the reps the firefighters would say about that? Joint fire district great idea, except the local politicians won't give up their power..



So it all boils down to power. Power for the firefighter union and power for politicians.

It's sad but you are correct. It's not what's best for the community or what the community can afford. It's all about power.


For those talking about volunteers you should be close to a F.House when the "local volleys" arrive for a run. Not very safe imo. What is the legal speed to arrive at the F.House for volleys? Keep the pros forget the volleys.