Layoffs loom in Sandusky

On the table: Twenty-seven positions and $2.2 million in cuts over two years.
Andy Ouriel
Mar 10, 2013

 

Sandusky officials know this much for certain: Deep cuts in the city's payroll and city services are coming.

Exactly how much gets axed, however, and which jobs are at stake remains a mystery.

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The city faces up to a $500,000 deficit in its nearly $16 million general fund budget this year, finance director Hank Solowiej said recently. City manager Nicole Ard recently provided the seven city commissioners a list of jobs and services that could be cut from today through 2014.

The cuts — totaling $2.2 million and 27 positions — would impact just about every city department, including police and fire. Ard did not make any recommendations, however, as to which cuts she recommends or how cuts could be implemented. 

How much the new union contracts will add to the expense column also looms as a huge unknown.  

Representatives from the city and the city's three collective bargaining units — police, fire and general service workers — are in negotiations on separate contracts that all expired last year. A conservative estimate — say, a 1 percent raise for each unit over a three-year period — could add about an extra $250,000 in payroll costs. 

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Note: The deficit figure was provided by the city's finance director several weeks ago. 

Comments

Second Opinion

But the city's lawyer hires other lawyers to do the job he was hired to do.

Mum-of-One

I agree, it does not take a lawyer to hire a lawyer, anyone could do that. Maybe the City Manager could just contract out all the legal work. Why have a lawyer on staff who can't do all the legal work in-house.

Second Opinion

Police protection will be reduced and the government wants to disarm citizens, totally stupid!

Licorice Schtick

Um, no, in that budget is a big increase for police. Maybe at some point, someone should ask if we should keep moving toward spending every nickel on safety services and forgetting about everything else.

2008HD

So does that mean Clitterbox-(SPD)is gonna get the ax again?

VOTENO

Hire a bunch of minimum wage people to wash and wax the fire trucks and do their grocery shopping and cook at the fire station and lay some fire people off.

KnuckleDragger

You're kidding right? Maybe you should go down to the fire station and see what most of these guys do. With the huge increase in EMS calls over the past 19 yrs, they are out most of the day on squad. They are not just sitting around the station. Maybe if you can educate the entitlement folks in Sandusky to stop calling a squad for taxi service whenever they have a cold, sore throat, and toothache, then you might be able to cut staff.

grandmasgirl

I agree with you, KnuckleDragger: I was one of those who thought that all the firemen (women) did was cook and lift weights. Not anymore. And, I agree even more with the second part of your statement.

VOTENO

Contract all EMS out and charge the users. BS calls would stop real fast.

Rod Farva

No they wouldn't

Perkins2060

I agree with VOTENO to a degree. I say lay off some fire and hire more police.

Katelih-Trailer...

Knuckledragger..You forgot HIVES. Someone called a squad because their kid had hives. (no lie)

John Harville

Katelih... you DO know hives can be an indictor of anaphalectic shock which quickly can lead to death?

Curley

I agree with KnuckleDrager. People should not call 911 for minor causes. What's wrong with getting in your car and driving yourself over to the hospital. I had to use the squad several times last year for my husband who has CHF and I was grateful to the squad for coming. I apologized to them for calling them and they told me that's their job for people who have heart conditions to treat them and get them to the hospital for more help.

John Harville

Curley... yeah... got a bit of angina? elephant on your chest? Get in the car and drive to ER - maybe you can crash and kill someone on the way.

Curley

John I mean for minor injuries.

John Harville

Who can diagnose minor?

Rod Farva

Clearly you have never needed to call 911off i hope your good fortune continues ...

Rod Farva

Clearly you have never needed to call 911, i hope your good fortune continues ...

John Harville

Rod. Amen.

Ithink

I agree VOTENO...sure the citizens of Sandusky call 911 for every minor bump and ache, however, Sandusky has the shortest drive to the ER than any other surrounding EMS services. It only takes a few minutes to pick up a patient and take them in, write their electronic report and drive to Save-a-lot. A lot of them, especially at Sandusky's out-lying stations, are milking hangovers.

UgtaBkdnMe

The city has made so many cuts in recent years that 27 more seems pretty severe.

Licorice Schtick

Ya think?

dont blame me

City and County officials always come out with these doom and gloom articles every time union members are trying to negotiate a contract. Once they screw the employees then they’ll mysteriously find the money.

KnuckleDragger

I wouldn't be too sure about that this time around. Most cities in the state are cutting staff, regardless of union contracts.

trafficman

Contracts have already been finished.

reader

Time to look at increasing the admissions tax rate. How about an article comparing our local admissions tax rate with that of other popular tourist destinations ?

KnuckleDragger

How about, stop putting all your eggs in one basket. If more of the cities entitlement class were working instead of sitting around on the porch drinking beer, and reproducing little welfare checks, the city may actually make some money off the income tax. As it stands now, most of the income tax is paid by those who don't even live in the city.

pavedparadise

Retired from a local industry. If one year we made $30,000,000 and the next year we made $25,000,000 the Plant Manager would tell the employees we lost $5,000,000.

Same holds true with the City. Like a broken 45 record, everytime there are union contracts up for renewing or some commissioner gets brain gas to move city offices, time for doom and gloom, as Dont Blame Me suggests, to brainwash the taxpayers to increase the income tax.

With a $3.5 million carryover, good luck with that.

KnuckleDragger

They should have little problem passing an income tax increase since a large portion of city residents have little to no taxable income (meaning wages. Welfare, disability, and social security aren't subject to the cities income tax).

luvblues2

Trickle up. Gotta love it.

Larry

Sandusky is looking more like Washington ~~~ NO LEADERSHIP !

John Harville

Larry... yup, commission about as effective as Congress.

TOPGUN01

THATS COMES OUT TO 87000,00 PER JOB!WOW !LET ME KNOW IF YOU EVER HIRE?

Teeter's picture
Teeter

Mail
Properties
From: Diedre Cole Sunday - March 10, 2013 7:36 AM
To: andyouriel@sanduskyregister.com
Subject: Budget
Andy:

Just read the online snipit regarding the budget and I hate to say it, but your numbers are totally wrong. You probably used a budget sheet from January. If someone had attended the Budget Workshop on March 6, you would have gotten accurate numbers. As a matter of fact, only THREE residents attended!

The budget Nicole presented was approximately $216,746 off. She presented a list of projects AND a list of possible staffing cuts. Commissioners were asked to chose and Keith Grohe and I submitted our choices. I eliminated VACANT positions such as the Assistant Chief and a Sgt. Position, and a vacant Reserve position, the vacant General Services Director position and a other PT position. My suggested eliminations got us down $195k, leaving a $24,000 gap. I am still reviewing the budget line-by-line and will have additional comments at the final public meeting, yet to be scheduled.

What is most important is that everyone realize that we will lose the Estate Tax next year and face a 25% decrease in Local Governmet Funds as well. These loses total approximately $600k and I believe we must begin to compensate for that loss this year to minimize the impact moving forward.
On second thought, thanks for getting it wrong! WE will balance the budget without the drastic cuts you seem to suggest. Unnecessarily panicking the public and employees based on inaccurate information is really what has happened and a disservice to the community, especially our seniors! -I even heard this story on 13 ABC News this morning! You could have called me and you know I would have provideed correct information.

Yes, I'm just a tad upset. When Matt called me about the workshop I told him I had a recording of the meeting and that Kelly could provide a copy. Jason picked up MY copy from Kelly which was a misunderstanding but I got another copy for my review. All that to say...someone over there had the entire debate on CD....no where in that debate did someone say, "Hey folks, we're $500,000 in the hole!" I hope you correct the story to reflect the actual information. You are welcome to review my notes and my marked up detailed budget if that helps. Thanks!

Dee

Diedre Y. Cole, Vice President
Sandusky City Commission
City of Sandusky
419-975-2793 (cell)
"If a project or idea cannot stand public scrutiny, it is probably something we shouldn't be doing!"

Please consider our environment before printing this email!

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I sent the above email to Andy this morning. I did add the last sentence to the first paragraph. It is truly disappointing that only 3 residents came!

UgtaBkdnMe

Teeter,

Thank you for your post. That is an interesting read and makes more sense.

Darkhorse

Both Andy and Cole are correct in their facts. Cole is going by the figure in the here and now and not counting what the union is going to ask for in raises of which Andy has already figured into the equation. What is hanging out there right now is what the unions are going to ask for in a raise. The raises will coincide with how many more cuts need to be made. Cole did not figure the union raises into her figures. One percent can make a huge difference in how much the deficit will grow. If the city would have started the union talks months ago before the contract expired, we would have a signed contract by now but the city waited until the contract expired and now we are in this situation and have to get the contract settled before you proceed with balancing a budget.

CAPNTIM50

@VOTENO,
You have made 2 of the most stupid comments I have ever read.
Hire in minimum wage labor, and contract EMS. You have 'NO' clue to what it takes to be a 'ELITE' Firefighter today.
The Firefighters of today are highly trained and most are college graduates with Masters degrees.
They charge into the worst situations when everyone is running out screaming for help. They evaluate these conditions, and effect the rescue of human life and extinguishment of fires that look like all of 'HELL'. And they ask very little in return.
So 'VOTENO', until you want to step up, and stand the line, I'd rececommend that you re adjust your comments to something that makes sense.
Good day to you!

VOTENO

Are you threatening me? I'll say what I want regardless what you or anyone else thinks. Elite firefighters? How many fires does sandusky have in a year? Oh, but just in case. Contract the EMS out. Huge savings.

KnuckleDragger

I can tell you from experience that is not a fact. While contracting EMS out could save money, the BS calls would not stop. These people are already billed because Sandusky charges for EMS runs. The problem is, they don't/won't pay. Taking them to collections is an effort in futility. You can't squeeze blood from a turnip, and try getting a judge in erie county to force someone on entitlements to pay their ambulance bill. It isn't gonna happen, and by the way you cannot garnish a social security, welfare, or disability check. Even a contract EMS service would be forced to eat those losses.

CAPNTIM50

@VOTENO,
Your narrow mindedness isn't worth getting worked about, as you seemed to be. Your making your comments totally off the cuff with NO knowledge of the subject, and NO documentation to back it up.
So what the Sandusky Firefighters aren't as hard as the Toledo or Cleveland Firefighters are. They are just asking what's due for them. They still risk their lives everyday. Hoping they'll go home at the end of their shift.
What do you do for a living? Any chance that you may not come home because of the work you do. Firefighters do that every day. Close to 100 Firefighters lose their life a year On The Job nationwide in the United States. A good number of Firefighters still Volunteer. So, think first before you speak.
Oh, and you say you were in the Military. So was I. Plus, I was a career Firefighter. Makes me wonder.
Have a good day.

Ithink

"Hoping they'll go home at the end of their shift"- you're joking, right? That means getting out of bed and going home, or leaving the recliner and heading to the bar. Firefighters deserve some respect, but they're not GOD. Waitresses, housekeepers, teachers, store clerks- they ALL hope they will go home at the end of their shift- geesh!

Ithink

VOTENO- you upset a firefighter. "Elite" firefighters? You gotta be kidding. They may start out at little Sandusky, but if they are 'elite', they leave here for bigger and better things.

CAPNTIM50

@Ithink,
So what your story? Do you know the risks a member of the Fire/EMS service put up with everyday? Does a office clerk, a Store Mrg., a stock trader have a risk of not going home? NO! And what do you do? Ever put your life on the line for someone else. Non Military? Nope! My opinion, first responders deserve all that they ask for and more!
Have you ever lost '343' fellow brothers at one time? What would you know what goes on inside the life at a fire station?
You and your friend need to have your facts right before you speak.
Have a good day.

Ithink

The risks they put up with 'everyday'? What, the recliners won't go back? Everyone has a risk of not going home at the end of the day. Just ask the Newton teachers, the janitors at the World Trade Center on 9/11, or the students at Virginia Tech. There's risks wherever you go- they knew what the job entailed when the signed up for it. "...know what goes on inside the life at a fire station"? You've got to be kidding. From 8-5 they wear their dress shirts, do a little training, or go to their bedrooms and read. After that, and on week-ends-it's a free-for-all. They can sleep off their hangovers, prank the new guys, and wait for visits from their 'girlfriends'.

VOTENO

Stand the line? What line do they stand? I did my time in the military. Nothing these ladies do impresses me.

KnuckleDragger

While I agree that voteno doesn't know what they are talking about, you are way overstating the qualifications of most firefighters. While they may be highly trained, it is a huge stretch to say most have college degrees or a masters degree. According to the IAFF, only about 20% of firefighters have a college degree and less than 1% possess a Master'd Degree. Now if what you are talking about is that most possess a certificate from a community college then I might be inclined to believe you, sort of. In this area, most firefighters are volunteers and the ones that are full time possess a Firefighter II cert and EMT or Paramedic Cert that they obtained from EHOVE or another vocational school, not a college. However, I do agree with you VOTENO knows nothing, and likely wouldn't be able to handle the rigours of fighting fires or providing EMS.

VOTENO

You know so much. You really must be man enough so "stand in line" with the captn. I bet you two would make a great couple.

VOTENO

Captn n Tenile. How cute.

CAPNTIM50

@VOTENO,
There you go. Your true colors just came through. It's obivious you never made NCO.
And my 'Capn' handle comes from my Firefighter days. E-6 comes from Military days.
I think were done here.

KnuckleDragger

Glad to see you have the maturity to debate an issue without trying to put someone down. Typical of someone who soesn't have any facts to refute what was said. To answer your question, yes, I am man enough and have done it, in addition to serving 21 yrs in the military and during 3 armed conflicts.

Perkins2060

I reaf your comments and you put VOTENO down first.

KnuckleDragger

You reaf my comments? LOL. Nonetheless, I reread my posts, other than saying VOTENO doesn't know what they are talking about, I don't see where I put them down. Maybe I should have lied and said their statement was fact? I've spent nearly 30 yrs in EMS both volunteer and paid, with a good portion of that in management. From my experience VOTENO is wrong.

CAPNTIM50

@KnuckleDragger,
I believe we're at a brickwall with VNO. VNO has shown his hand, and it's filled with dung. You never put him down first, last or anyway. You just spoke it as it is. Just as I, but with the background I have.
Good luck with that.
Have a good day.

SamAdams

NOBODY should get raises right now. NOBODY. It's not a question of what an employee does or doesn't deserve. It's a simple fact of economics. These "automatic" raises based on nothing but union membership and/or longevity have got to stop. Merit raises? Yes, if affordable, and ONLY if affordable.

It's past time government stopped running itself from what it's considered a "bottomless pocket" and started running itself more like a responsible business operated by grown-ups. I won't hold my breath...

rottnrog

You mean like all those businesses that lost money and cut workers wages but gave CEO's big raises?

KnuckleDragger

You mean those rotten CEOs that paid more in taxes last year than you likely have paid in your entire lifetime? You must lead a miserable life with your envy eating you from the inside out.

pavedparadise

@KnuckleDragger

Executive Pay and the Great Tax Dodge
Katrina vanden Heuvel on August 31, 2011 - 4:47 PM ET

Before the deficit reduction “super-committee” embarks on a $1–2 trillion course of human slashonomics, it should take a hard look at the Institute for Policy Studies’ (IPS) eighteenth annual executive compensation report, which details how corporations are rewarding CEOs for aggressive tax avoidance—to the tune of at least $100 billion in lost tax revenues every year.
But these twenty-five companies shielded their profits in 556 tax haven subsidiaries in places like the Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, and Singapore, which proved to be a lucrative tax dodging strategy for the CEOs themselves: the twenty-five CEOs averaged $16.7 million in compensation, compared to $10.8 million for their peers in the S&P 500.

SamAdams

This is unquestionably the kind of "loophole" that ought to be closed before taxes are raised on anybody, including businesses. The problem? What they're doing is perfectly legal. And yes, if they save the company that kind of money, why SHOULDN'T they be rewarded in kind?

Do I think what they're doing is RIGHT? Not exactly. But it's not illegal, which is the key here. You can legislate morality and ethics all you like, but we will always have the greedy and the spendthrifts with us (the vast majority of whom are politicians rather than businessmen), and they will always seek out ways to get what they want. So let's start eliminating some of those ways! Instead of talking about levies locally, and talking about still more tax increases on every level, start talking about legitimate tax reform. Call it what you like: Fair tax, flat tax, whatever. But the bottom line is we'd ALL pay less taxes if we'd all actually PAY taxes!

KnuckleDragger

That loophole will never be closed, because the same rich politicians that loathe it in public are also utilizing it to sheild their assets in private.

Mum-of-One

not to mention accumulated sick pay. Sick pay is for when people are off work sick. It should never be a reward for not getting sick.

pavedparadise

Mum-of-one

You are spot on.

In the private sector the non-use of sick days and vacation is called "Use It Or Loose It". Also in the private sector, senior employees are getting grandfathered in for pensions while younger employees are being moved to employee contribution 401Ks

Matt Easterhold

merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge
merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge
merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge
merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge
merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge merge

CAPNTIM50

Merge what? Sandusky and Perkins? Tell me this. Why doesn't Cedar Point pump major dallars into the Sandusky community. New roads, sewers, sidewalks, vehicles, the list could go on. I hear the communities of the casinos along the Ohio river in Indiana reapt major improvements. CP makes alot of money, why not invest into the community. Cleveland Rd sure could use improvement. Right where you enter CP. Just asking.

KURTje

Love it knucklehead. Darn those pesky jobs that USED to pay a wage. Others & self said stuff like this would happen. Oh well oldsters (those getting this stuff) don't need it do they? Sure glad my folks taught me much. (Its probably gonna get worse) Hope I'm wrong.

BEHAPPY

Start at the T-O-P for a change

John Harville

Gov. Kasich, on arrival in office, proceeded to cut m/billions from budgets to local governments. He wanted to force governmentall units to begin finding ways to share resources, services, funding, etc.
For some reason, municipalities and schools and others just haven't gotten the message. Perhaps it's time for Unigov such as Indianapolis/Marion County has had five decades. Time for Erie County, Perkins Township, Sandusky City to combine services. Most of you probably voted for Kasich so now you have to smile through the pain...

pavedparadise

Problem JH is the money the State is cutting from Local Governemnt is our money to start with. Take a look at just one example of your tax money being wasted.

American Tax Dollars Wasted: 10 Worst Examples in 2012

Waste Book 2012: A covered bridge to nowhere. What list of government waste would be complete without a notorious “bridge to nowhere”? In this case, it’s $520,000 to fix the Stevenson Road Covered Bridge in Green County, Ohio, which was last used in 2003.

John Harville

paved... I know whose money it is.. ours... and the state keeps taking it for pet projects.... and telling us we need to pass local levies to make up the loss - still more of our tax dollars.
But let's put the responsibility where it lies. Even the Republican Auditor is going to audit the Republican governor's private JobsOhio group of the governor's cronies. Shades of Tom Noe...

CAPNTIM50

That was a bit easier to do, the Indianapolis/Marion County merger, since basiclly Indianapolis almost made up all of Marion County. Only a few smaller townships surround it.
It would likely be alot harder for that to happen here in Erie County.

Mr. D

Shut down the city owned greenhouse. . . Buy flowers from the Amish growers near Plymouth. . . Let community minded volunteers and those sentenced to community service plant and water them. . . Huge savongs!!!

WhatTheHeck

Good idea.

luvblues2

Left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing?

Darkhorse

Due to the lack of organization, I doubt the commissioners will arrive at a consensus of what to cut in order to gain a balanced budget. My guess is that they will spend way too much time agruing about what to cut that nothing will get done and the city will end up with an unbalanced budget. Time is running short and decisions need to be made.

Cityslicker

That's a pretty good sized editorial mistake there. Wonder if any retractions will be printed in the headlines. Probably not since it was not a public servant or government person that made the mistake. Hey Deidre, does this mean your going to take Matt off your speed dial??

3M TA3

Do Obama phones have speed dial?

John Harville

3m yeah.... speed dial... the ones the President uses to call ALL the gas stations/convenience stores to tell them to raise gas prices.

WhatTheHeck

Cut that blond haired guy who works in the street dept. All he does is stand around and yell at his friends that pass by and give them the finger and laugh. He drives the street sweeper once in awhile and stops at all his friends house to chat. Ooops, senority. I forgot.

God Of Thunder

#1...They're paying the City manager more than they've ever paid one..
#2...They're paying Law director 133k to sub out all of his work...
#3...Commissioners all keep dumping money into their "Pet Projects"...

NO WONDER THEY"RE OUT OF MONEY!!!!

Dutigas

Get rid of ard and icsman that will save the City money. I am sure that either one of them will not take a wage cut. Is ard or icsman going out and protect the City, put out fires and run the squad. As long as these two high wage people think they can run the City, the City will never get ahead.
Why is that the low wage employee always got to take the heat and lose their jobs. WHY WHY WHY

John Harville

So much for economic development. Fremont having same problems with same guy...

BEHAPPY

Start at the T-O-P....You know...those HIGH paying jobs....where they sit at a desk and dictate...yes...those....THAT'S where all the money is going. I would like to see that our police, fire, services all stay...They already had their cuts. Start where you will REALLY save BIG TIME!

JohnDorian12

Great point!

JERRY from SANDUSKY

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When are the higher salary peeps going to give up the bucks

JohnDorian12

Is there anyone who is surprised by this??? Fact: There is a City Manager who has very little experience, more interested in exerting her authority than she is making good financial decisions....you have one cop who was basically just handed a 10 month vacation WITH pay because she chose to make a knee jerk reaction and fire him. you have a "mole" somewhere in the city who reports EVERYTHING to this dump of a paper, so they can print it and make ANYONE who may be thinking about moving there, move to Huron or Perkins....does the Rag-ister feel that by making city officals look bad and making cops out to be the bad buys make a middle classs family WANT to live there??? You also have a person on the commission who has mismanaged her own finances and has been abusing the welfare system for 20+ years...yet you vote to put her in charge of the citys finances??? If there is one resident of that city who shocked by this, well that wont shock me...the ONLY thing Im shocked about, is that it took this long...good job Nicole and Matt and Deidra!! Fine job!!

whocares

Would this story read any differently if Senate Bill 5 had passed?

CAST THE FIRST STONE

all comes back to sb5 idont feel sorry for any of them because they all voted to lose their jobs