Decision 2011 discussion forum and news page now available

Get the latest local election news, meet the candidates and join the discussion forum.
Sandusky Register Staff
Sep 20, 2011


Get the latest local election news, meet the candidates and join the discussion forum.'s new election page is now live at You can also access the page by clicking the Decision 2011 button to the right of the home page.

The Register has invited local candidates to answer questions posted in the forums by moderators and by voters. Simply sign in to offer your thoughts or to post your questions.

And, keep an eye out for the Register's complete Decision 2011 coverage, which includes:

• Live election night coverage, giving you up-to-the-minute updates on local races and issues.

• A Decision 2011 election preview section, to be published in the Register on Nov. 2.

• Five live debates as follows:

Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
Special Between the Lines Live at
Guests: Perkins Township Fiscal Officer Candidates Diane Schaefer and Jane Gildenmeister

Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.
Live debate at Sandusky High School, Room 300
Guests: Sandusky City Commission Candidates

Thursday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m.
Live debate at Sandusky High School, Room 300
Guests: Sandusky City School Board Candidates

Wednesday Nov. 2, at 6 p.m.
Live debate at Sandusky State Theatre
Guests: Representatives supporting and opposing Senate Bill 5

Thursday Nov. 3, at 6 p.m.
Live debate at Sandusky High School, Room 300
Guests: Sandusky City Commission Candidates


AJ Oliver

Dear Register Readers & City Commission Candidates -

     As the Sandusky city commission election approaches, we need to think about ways to improve how our city government works.   

     I will be happy to support commission candidates who agree with the suggestions made below, and would appreciate seeing their responses.  (The Op ed below was published in the Register on September 9th.)

     And to you voters out there, I would suggest that you give your votes and support to candidates who are willing to be specific about what their priorities and practices will be after they take office. 

      I'm sure that city residents and candidates have their own ideas about "best practices" for Sandusky. 

     Lets hear them!!! 

                   Best Practices for Sandusky City Government

                                                                                       By AJ (Skip) Oliver

                 Those of us who follow local politics know that
serving on the Sandusky City Commission is a challenging task.  It
requires endless hours of meetings, reams of reading, and sometimes
decisions so difficult that they would leave King Solomon scratching
his head.  And, oh yes, the job does not pay very well either.

                 Nonetheless, it is fair to say that the performance of
Sandusky city government over the past several years has been
disappointing in some respects.  What follows are some specific
recommendations for changes in the ways that the city operates.

                 Commission candidates who are willing to move in the
direction of the principles outlined below should earn our support.
If not, not.

                 For openers, when the city hires new employees or
consultants, it should conduct formal searches to find the best
candidates.  This year, a recreation director and a transient marina
manager were hired without the positions being advertised.  It will
never be known if better candidates were available.

                 The city should support responsible contractor policies.
Contractors and investors doing business with the city must be fully
identified, provide resumes for public inspection, and publicly
demonstrate histories of accomplishment and financial responsibility.
In the case of the Marina District project a few years ago, this was
not done.  The city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars backing a
developer who refused even to produce a resume and, as it finally emerged,
had never developed anything.

                 Parks in general, and waterfront parks in particular, are of
vital importance to our community.  They give our town a unique
character, and set us apart from the crowd.  The historic Battery Park
green area needs to be free from commercial development.  Both Battery
Park and the Bay Pavilion (the former Surf's Up property) need
refurbishing.  On the west side, we applaud the progress that is being
made with Lions Park, thanks mostly to Commissioner Waddington.

                 Recent commissions have abused the city charter.  It
unambiguously states that "no measure making a grant, renewal or
extension of a franchise or other special privilege . ." shall ever be
passed as an emergency.  Too often, commissioners have rushed
legislation through without second readings or allowing citizens their
proper rights to comment, question, or circulate petitions for a
public vote.

                The Commission should respect and bargain in good faith
with public sector unions.  City employees have a responsibility to
work diligently and professionally.  In turn, the city has the
responsibility to provide fair pay and benefits, as well as skills
training.  Sandusky city employees deserve to be part of the middle
class, and they need union representation to make that happen.

                Sandusky city government must be fully transparent.  City
officials work for the taxpayers, are thus obliged to operate openly,
and to respond promptly and fully to requests for information.  In the
recent past, they have not always done so.

                Speaking of transparency, city employees and consultants
should log the hours that they spend on various projects and tasks.
If plumbers and lawyers can do this, so can the public sector.
Taxpayers have every right to know how city officials and workers spend
their time.

                Many talented people volunteer their time to serve on
the city's boards and commissions.  The problem is that the city
commission routinely bypasses these bodies.  Too often, the result has
been expensive boondoggles.  Groups such as the Planning Commission,
the Bayfront Corridor Committee, and the relevant county boards need
to be involved at the inception of the development process - not as an
afterthought.  Commissioner Farrar needs to first (not last) go to the
Recreation Board and Planning Commission with her ideas for a sports
complex.  The same goes for development at the coal docks.

                Even when we disagree with them, the people who serve on
the city commission deserve to be treated with respect.  They do not
have an easy job.  Of course, commissioners and city employees are
similarly obligated to be courteous - even when faced with
ill-informed or badly worded questions.  It comes with the territory.

                Commissioners need to do their homework, in part, by
carefully reading - well in advance - the information packets that they
receive prior to each meeting.  They also need to seek out and attend
training sessions geared toward local government.  Finally, city
commissioners should meet with their constituents at regularly held
meetings, such as coffees and town hall gatherings that are advertised
and open to everyone.

                Sandusky city commission candidates need to be specific
about the changes that they will work toward after they take office.
Addressing the items on this list would be a good place to start.


Until you wake up you the citizen of Sandusky will be screwed right and left. The only way to get your point across is take away from them. Meaning take wages from them 17.3 % no one in this town deserves more than $95,000 a year. You the tax payer went backwards why shouldn't they.

please support gov kasich in his bid to keep sb5 on the books.  here is just another example of the greedy unions and their workers in which joe q public must pay!  here is a clip from sunday's toledo blade.

"Firefighters can bank their unused sick time and accumulate it to be paid out as severance at their end of their careers -- a measure that was billed as a disincentive to call in sick.

Unused sick days are cashed out by firefighters upon retirement. They get paid 50 percent of their wage for the first 200 unused sick days. Any unused sick days above 200 are paid out at full pay.

One firefighter lieutenant, who has been on the job for 36 years has so far banked more than 4,000 hours of sick time, which means he has about 500 days of sick time he will cash out when he retires, said Fire Capt. John Kaminski.

Under the formula, he will get salary for 400 work days as a "severance check" when he retires.

That equals about 1 1/2 times his annual salary, which for the veteran firefighter lieutenant being paid $67,800 a year means he will get an out-the-door check of about $101,700."

really, 4,000 hours!?  though current contracts may not be changed we can change the future contracts!


without unions people couldn't suport your business...........

we have gone so far backwards we limit what we buy.......

you the business owner need's to be quiet (respectfully)........

you attack us we will boycott you seem far to me..................

so go on beating your gums................

we will find you........

remember you need us we don't need you.............


"remember you need us we don't need you............."

really?  without our tax dollars you wouldn't have a job!  maybe you can use some of your union earnings and go back to school and learn how to make intelligent conversation.

sb5 is flawed.  there is no dispute to that.  but, we can't continue to give unions that represent gov't employees carte blanche!  here is another article that refers to the out of control union contracts.

"A study released Wednesday by an Ohio business group suggests that public employees receive more generous compensation than their private-sector brethren."

"The study found that public employees earn about 2.5 percent less in direct pay than their private-sector equivalents but benefit from much more generous pension, health, and other benefits. It figured that pay and benefits for public employees are 31.2 percent more generous."

pretty soon the gov't will be the leading employer in the state of ohio.  how many people does it take to support one state or federal worker?

AJ Oliver

    What kind of sense does it make for working and middle class people to turn against each other?  That is exactly what the oligarchs & kleptocrats want. It's the old, old game of divide and conquer.  They win if they can get working people to turn against unions by stoking fear and jealousy.

    Read your history. There was no middle class until there was a strong labor movement.  They rose together, and now (since the 1970s) they are falling together.  If any working person out there thinks that they will be better off if union workers become worse off, they are very much mistaken.

    Except for summer work way back in the day (Republic Steel & TRW), I have never had a union job.  Nonetheless, I understand the importance of unions to the survival of the middle class.  Sure, there are some union rules that very much need tweaking, but don't throw out the baby with the bath water.  Many of the abuses of sick time and other benefits that you hear about are actually done by administrators, not union rank & file.

    That being said, the public sector unions can and should do a MUCH better job of sticking up for non-government unions and the working class in general.  The benefits of union membership should be for everyone, not just a labor aristocracy.


Wow, this Oliver's a strange bird. He seems to have ALL the answers, but no guts to actually run for something. I didn't see his name on the list for city manager, commissioner, school board or anything else! EVER! But he wants to give all this advice??? Well gee skip thanks for the help, but I'd rather those in authority not use advice from someone who obviously is afraid to actually sacrafice for their community.


Thundergirl-  You criticize those you don’t know.  Clueless, you go about making statements that are unfounded.  AJ Oliver is one of those that consistently volunteers for the betterment of our City, State and Country.  He is a Veteran of the Vietnam War and a retired tenured professor.  He brings this background to all the work he does and you would do well to heed his advice. 


Bring back all the forums!

Kottage Kat

@ kelly,

I have contacted Ryan Belchinger (sp), and he said it is not going to happen . Perhaps if enough people requested them ?     Kat;}


Bring back all the forums!

@ Kelly     I agree. Perhaps the Sandusky Register doesn't want people starting up topics where they can post thoughts and ideas? I could start up a variety of topics if the forums were back. With the forums, people could generate thoughts and ideas to make Sandusky and the area a better place to live.  Those who hold public office in the area would get a better idea of what the people really want by reading the forums and the news comments. Perhaps the Sandusky Register could call up all of the elected officials in Sandusky and Erie County to find out who reads the comments and who doesn't. Comments on a site are one way for people to speak out.


One should never think unions has seen their day, if so, then America is doomed to corporate America. Middle Class's main support is organized labor, they assure middle class remains middle class and corporate America doesnt push them back 50 years to poverty. They assure a safe working environment for everyone, including supervision. Unions have used their powers to save some people who do not desere a job, however they also assure those who come to work everyday, do their job the best they can with the tools they have and go home with life and limbs they came to work with and treated equal regardless of color or religion, male or female.

Not every system is perfect, history has proven that time and time again. However, nothing says that organized labor cant reel in some and see where the economy is at and what needs to be done to stay competetive with the world market. You are a fool if you think America can work for what China, Japan and some third world nations work for and continue to be middle class.

Taking striking rights away from any organized labor is like handing a water pistol to take to the negotiation / state has no threat to even hear the workers needs or demands, let alone negotiate fairly accross the board.

Corporate America is like the slavemasters were, its my business, I invested in it, I get all the profits no matter how hard you work to help me profit..and if you lose a limb or die, sorry about your luck...sorry guys, those days are over, organized labor will ask for a fair share of the profits being they are the ones who work their tail off making you richer by the minute. Public servants will ask for a reasonable wage considering, they are watching your children as they try to teach those who want to learn and putting up with those who dont want to learn, firemen saving your hide when your home is on fire and if god forbid you get in a serious accident, they will pull you out of car to save your life, even if its burning and your police force will serve and protect regardless of the threat to them too. Again no system is perfect, the bad needs weeded out just like the bad in Corporate America needs weeded out.

One last thing, look at who gives the most when handouts are asked for (United Way) good example..organized labor does!

Agree or disagree, thats another right organized labor supports.

AJ Oliver

    For the better part of a century, until into the 1930's, union people were shot down in the streets like dogs.  Those tens of thousands gave their lives for us.  Our debt to them is incalculable. 

    Too bad labor history is not taught in the schools. 

    Several books in the Sandtown library deal with this topic.  Read "Labor's Untold Story", and "From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend".  They are eye openers. 

ROB DUNCAN FOR MAYOR who is he a loser



@ AJ Oliver & Smoking Gunn:  Intelligent, well-thought comments - thanks much for posting! 

@ Mikel: If you're going to quote articles from The Blade, perhaps you should stop cherry-picking just those that back up your viewpoint. Certainly there have been plenty (in just the past couple of weeks) that espouse exactly the opposite opinion. I recommend you ponder the famous Santayana quote, "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it", with regards to how life was for the middle class laborer before unions existed. If self-serving people like you get their way, America will become a Banana Republic. You yourself said that SB5 is flawed, and there's many reasons why that is true, but (as Smoking Gunn said) the biggest is that it does throw the baby out with the bathwater.

If you truly care about the middle-class in Ohio, the answer isn't to throw out unions, the answer is to fix them. Like them or not, unions are necessary because we all know what will happen if executives/CEOs are left to their own devices: they pocket their profits and don't compensate their workers fairly. Unions came into being specifically BECAUSE the higher-ups cannot be trusted to do right by their workers, unless forced to. I see nothing in today's management types that would indicate that this has changed.

Kasich, unlike unions, is not fixable. He was voted in by a scant 17% of eligible voters in an election in which most people didn't vote, and for some reason, thinks he has a "mandate" to change things. If the HUGE opposition to SB5 isn't a wake-up call for you (and Mr. Kasich), it sure as heck should be...


"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it"


coaster - you can't fix a union without breaking it!  case in point: tsubaki.  they believe that they are always right.  bottom line is this.  we can no longer afford all of the benefits that are plugged into union contracts.  with the shrinking private sector workforce affecting the amount of taxes collected directly affects the stability of gov't.  are there other options that need to be considered?  absolutely.  we have to start somewhere.

as far as the articles go that i had copied.  it is unbelievable to think that one person could bank 4000 hours of sick time and then have the taxpayer compensate them for it.  like i said honor the current contracts. 


No one but the unions are allowed to carry over sick leave.  Accumulating  sick leave for when one retires is going to kill off the budgets of the cities.  It is unheard of in the private sector so what makes the union people think they are any better then the private sector?  


The Register has invited local candidates to answer questions posted in the forums by moderators and by voters

Sarah Weber is asking the candidates questions in the forums. Only two candidates have responded so far. Where are the others? The questions have been up since Sept 16. The link above will take you there