Fired Sandusky officer to get job back, $50K payout

One point in an alleged Sandusky police love triangle is getting his job back.
Emil Whitis
Feb 15, 2013


Arbitrator Mary Jo Schiavoni ruled Tuesday that Sandusky officials did not have “just cause” to fire former Sandusky police Sgt. Steve Ritterbach last year.  

“He’ll be back within the next week or so,” Sandusky police Lt. John Orzech said.

Schiavoni ordered the city to convert the firing into a 30-day suspension. In other words, Ritterbach will not only wear a badge and a gun again, he’ll also get eight months of back pay, plus whatever benefits he would have accrued since June.

This is on top of two months of pay he received on administrative leave, while Sandusky police administrators investigated a texting affair between his wife, Jennifer Ritterbach, and former Sandusky police Officer Todd Smith.

In the end, Ritterbach will receive pay for 10 months of non-service to the city — a check for at least $50,000, based on his most recent salary data.  

For more on the original incident that led to the firing and what's next for the others involved, pick up a copy of Friday's Register.



What a classy dude.


Oh my, this news comes days after good ole Christopher Dormer was gunned down by California's finest. Yet,interestingly, the facts regarding the alleged corruption scandal regarding LAPD has been swepted under the rug.

Now I'm just wondering if the good ole boys in Erie County are fearful that a ole Ritterbach is a loose canon too?

Well, in the end let's see who wins.


"Yet,interestingly, the facts regarding the alleged corruption scandal regarding LAPD has been swepted under the rug."

Good comment.

Julie R.

That WAS a good comment.

Wasn't the LAPD also the ones behind the Rodney King incident? Dorner for sure committed heinous crimes but now there will be no further investigation into the truth. How did he get fired for simply accusing another police officer of kicking a mentally disabled man? Did he fabricate the complaint .... or is the real truth the incident was covered up and Dorner was unjustly fired for being a whistleblower?

I think the latter. This man was provoked into snapping by his anger over the corruption in the LAPD.


"Snaping by his anger". If you get Unjustifiably fired, you get a lawyer and not a gun. You sue them, not kill a bunch of innocent people who prior to the day they were killed by this idiot, didn't even know the name Christopher Dorner. How does Rodney King fit into this situation? Yes, King was assaulted nay beat down but a jury in the criminal trial, regular citizens, found that there was no crime and cleared them but ultimately they were held accountable through the judicial system. King didn't get a gun and start shooting.

Julie R.

What you say is true but who knows what makes some people snap? From what I've read this guy was a normal and decent guy until he was fired for blowing the whistle on another police officer. Most people get treated unfairly and they learn to live with it. Others like Dorner let it fester and fester until they snap. That's the scary thing about corruption. One never knows for sure how many out there are just like Dorner.

The Answer Person

NO Julie. Rodney King was behind the ROdney King incident.

Julie R.

As opposed to all the other media outlets, wonder why there has been none to miniscule coverage about this former LAPD cop Chris Dorner in the Sandusky Register, Lorain Journal, and Cleveland Plain Dealer?

The Answer Person

Because it really does not matter. He is dead and that is that. No one cares.

Julie R.

There was hardly anything about it BEFORE he was dead, which is odd considering all the rest of the media coverage on it.

You can bet the other media sources are already after the court records. Wasn't it said he was fighting to get his job back since 2008 and his latest appeal was denied?


Swept....not swepted

Good 2 B Me

What a joke. These guys are not held accountable for ANYTHING.


The city has to come up with $100,000 total for two cops coming back to work. We paid out that much salary and didn't get any services out of these cops because they were sitting it out waiting to come back to work. Somewhere something is wrong and needs to be fixed. The city cannot be repeating the same error ovr and over when firing someone in the union.


This is a joke. This arbitration crap makes no sense sometimes...


wow....hope he grows up a LOT before he comes back.


Why do you think he paid Union dues, they get your job back every time! Doesn't matter what you did wrong.


This is pretty common practice it seems for the SPD..This happens often there as to what I can remember


does the other cop have to give his wife back to him now?


Welcome back Steve.



If there is indeed an underground movement to adjust Sandusky's government, it should be picking up steam thanks to the City administration's continued bumblings.

Rod Farva

He looks trustworthy ....


if he was taken care of business she wouldnt have needed the other cop...........and we pay them for this ??? what a joke some police depts have become sad

Swamp Fox

Like it or not, its called binding arbitration, if you don't like negotiate it on the next contract. If you really dislike it you should have voted for SB5...


What happens to the new officers we hired to take their place while they were gone? We now have more then enough officers. On what grounds is the union claiming that these officers can come back?

Molon Labe

Good to hear it Steve! Welcome back! Thought I would put something positive up here since everyone is a negative nancy on here.


Not everybody gets their job back. Just ask the guy who got caught stealing gas. His case went to arbitration and his firing was upheld. In most cases, its called progressive disclipine,whether you like it or not. In many cases, the City just goes to corporal punishment (termination), Basically, in this case, the arbitrater felt that termination was to strong of a punishment. Also, if Ritterbach has been working, I do believe whatever wages he was earning will offset his reinstatement amount.


This is getting interesting.


what a union they have. They get to play disqusting games and are reprimanded for bad behavior. They get fired for justifable reason and then cry foul, only to get their jobs back and we have to pay them? For what? Their bad behavior and disqusting lives? What wonderful examples they set for our kids to be shown.

I agree with everyone on here who says this arbitration is a joke.

Sit n Spin

He is a joke of a person, period. Not one officer wants him back at the SPD. I dont blame them, he would throw his owm Mother under the bus to save his own rear. Stevie boy can't be trusted. Have fun going back to work Stevie, nobody will have your back so I hope you get some type of desk duty for your own good !


good to know.


That is Sit n Spin's opinion, wired. Not fact. I have no dog in this fight but, accepting someone's opinion as "knowing", doesn't help.

Sit n Spin

Oooooh I "know" & that is all FACT, trust me on that luvy !


Show me S n S. I have time...

Sit n Spin

I have & would but every time I post something "its personal" & gets removed by big brother. The guy is not a stellar human being, just ask around & get everyone's "opinion" on him. For every one person that says anything positive you will get ten that will just look at you & shake their head in disgust. FACT Luvy !


I don't live in Sandtown, S n S. I do business there, which is why I am concerned. I don't know 10 people in that city that care enough to vote or comment. Maybe a couple, few. That's why I asked.


Agreed. Sit has some unresolved issues with a failed romance.


@ Sit n Spin

hell hath no fury like a woman scorned


I was thinking the same thing. Sit sounds like a jilted lover.


I've heard the exact same thing about him!

Sit n Spin

Word is he's single again, surprise ! Watch yourself "ladies" !


Why do you care?

Oh yeah, that's right!


Flashback to the original Sandusky Register article.

Note the threat to possibly shoot was made to the investigating officer not the other officer involved.

One's away from work life (including sex) is no-one's business. As for the threat, well if there was an existing history of such in his file, that would be one thing but if his record file was clean or nearly clean, thank goodness for arbitration.

Sit n Spin

Really ? Its Ok to threaten to shoot someone if you have never done it before ? If Mr. Citizen does this he would be charged ! This tool gets nothing but "Its Ok Stevie just don't don't do it again & start thinking with the head on your shoulders." All is forgiven, carry on !


I wouldn't know either officer on the street if they walked in front of me. Obviously you would based on your stated knowledge of the officer involved.

All I'm saying is, according to the previous Register article, he made the comment to the investigating officer (out of heat of emotion) not the other officer involved.

If this officer is as bad as you state, it's just a matter of time before more incidents find their way to his file with reason to terminate.


Wow. This woman has an impressive resume including arbitrator and a judge to boot.

Julie R.

Wow. This woman sure is expensive. She charges a thousand dollars a day, plus the cost of airfare, hotels, food and rental cars.


I hope Todd Smith gets his job back! Seems like he was more honest in this situation then Ritterbach was.


The city manager is just too eager to fire people....look at the city worker that is now suing the city for his job back. I'm not saying what either one of these officers did was right...not condoning their behavior in any way....there should've been discipline for sure. But she should've done a little more investigation in finding out how likely it would've been for them to get their job back! I've said this before and I will say it again....she has a "holier than thou" attitude that is going to come back and bite our city in the butt! I say we need new city management!! Our city is looking like a real joke!!

Really are you ...

So if Sgt. Ritterbach responds to a call that a guy just shot his wife for having an affair on him. What does he do? You are under arrest? Or throw his arm over the guys shoulder, "I know where you are coming from..." Lol! Just saying.

Sit n Spin

Hahaha ! Good one ! Sad but soooo true !


The city needs a good union contract that will not embarrass the city and keep officers from coming back and embarrassing the very uniform they service. We don't need a contract that will protect an officer that brings a black eye to the department and makes the department look like a class one comedy act. It is not the City Manager's fault but the loop holes in the contract that allow inappropriate behavior bringing dishonor to the uniform. The union has to recognize this fact when redoing their contract. The department needs to be cleaned up but the contract is not allowing the city to weed out the officers who are bringing dishonor to the department with inappropriate behavior. The private sector does not permit such bahavior while employed anywhere and neither should the union or the city.

Sit n Spin

Very well said dark horse. When you wear the badge you are & should be held to a higher standard, on & off the clock. This little man is a disgrace to us men/women that consider it an honor / privilege to wear the uniform/badge, not a right. Someone needs to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror and make some life changes.


"Little man"?
YEP, you are a disgraced lover who was apparently dumped by this officer.

Holding grudges does no one any good.

Sit n Spin

Haha haha good one....He wouldnt have a shot at me even if he was the last "man" on earth & I had a never ending supply of penicillin ! I would have never been involved with such an individual as this. I can judge a persons' character and moral values very well. This "little man" is an easy read...he cares about himself, period. He probably never gets tired of looking in the mirror !


Sometimes I just sit and wonder where you come up with these comments, Darkhorse. You imply that the union contract is pure evil. The fact of the matter is that as the result of collective bargaining, both sides involved in the negotiating process come to an agreement based on the terms and language in the written contract. From what I've read here, you would want your supporters to believe that the city has no voice in the process, which is completely wrong. If the city wants to strengthen their position in the contract, they have the means to make it happen. The idea of "weeding out" bad eggs within the work force is exactly why a contract, properly worded to protect every member of the bargaining unit, is necessary and essential.


@twosenseworth....I understand what you are saying to a point. Perhaps the answer is to have a principals and practices statement that all of the officers must sign when they come to work for the SPD. That becomes part of their employment record. These are the rules of your employment....break them and you are fired. It is that simple. That makes the arbitration a very simple process and everyone is on the same page. If the officer goes off the page, he or she has no recourse and they know exactly what will happen. You screw up and you are gone.

That way there is no question when the office has broken faith with his or her conduct. That would "weed out the bad eggs" as you say, would it not?


Clearly, you do not understand me at all.


@twosensworth...ok, then explain your point of view so I can understand it.


@darkhorse....well said


You have to ask yourself some questions on what it takes to be a good police officer. Use the internet to find out what these traits are. Good and honest police officers make up a good police department. Good officers do not partake in the blue code of silence but will expose the unworthy ones unfit to wear the badge.

Bad officers can make a whole police department look bad. Take for instance this video of the California Highway Patrol and how they treated a pregnant young woman on a very busy and noisy California highway. The corrupt LAPD is much worse. Some people should not be police officers because they lack the traits to be a good and honest one.

Now look how the CHP tried to lie their way out of not providing the dash cam footage of the police assault on the pregnant woman.


All of this over hormones. That's the sad part.


I feel sorry for the guy. His wife got all the fun and will probably end up with most of the cash.