In November 2007, Sandusky was reeling from a housing rehab scandal that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and resulted into the dismissal of several city employees. The scale of owner occupied vs. rental property was tipping uncomfortably to the rental side. Foreclosures were increasing.
The Keller Building and the former Rieger Hotel were up for grabs for enterprising developers.
The Marina District was in the planning stages and meeting with unbridled enthusiasm from some and strong opposition from others.
The former city manager had left his Sandusky job for greener pastures, fueled by frustration with city commissioners and their growing dissatisfaction with his job performance.
Enter a bright, young man from southern Ohio who turned his sights to taking over the helm at city hall. Matt Kline was full of promise. He thought he could further his career by moving Sandusky in the right direction -- forward.
The committee who chose him thought he offered the right mix of education, experience, enthusiasm and integrity to get the job done.
They were both wrong.
Fast forward to November 2009, the problems of two years ago are largely unresolved. Personnel issues have marred Kline's time as manager and have cost the city dearly, both in dollars and in spirit.
Kline's intentions for the job may have been honorable, but they didn't work out for him, or for the people of Sandusky.
Time to move on.
We tried the "local boy makes good" approach. It failed.
We tried the "bright-eyed enthusiastic guy without resume" approach. It failed.
We need a professional with some level of credentials. But will we be able to find a properly credentialed person who is up to this challenge?