Reducing the number of city commissioners

Almost every person seeking a Sandusky city commission seat this November favors shrinking the government.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 5, 2013


Six of the seven candidates vying for the three contested seats support the notion of lowering the number of commissioners representing Sandusky.
They voiced their opinions to about 150 attendees during a Register political forum at Sandusky High School. The question: Would you reduce the number of city commissioners from seven to five? A change couldn’t come until commissioners review the city’s charter, which doesn’t occur until 2015.    
Here’s how the candidates responded:

“I would go from seven to three. I envy Perkins Township and Erie County because you only need (two people) to get something accomplished in these types of governments. In this government, you need to find three friends to get a 4-3 vote. We would still get good representation with three commissioners.”
— Dick Brady

“Let’s talk about reducing it and also increasing the pay. We get $100 a week, and it takes a lot of our time, but we enjoy doing it. I would say a commission of five would probably function a lot better.”
—John Hamilton, ex officio mayor

“I’m definitely not in support of reducing from seven commissioners to five. I went to a commissioners’ meeting, and sometimes they didn’t even have a quorum (or enough people to vote on measures) because they were sick or they came in late.”
—Patricia Ferguson

“I absolutely support reducing the number of commissioners.”
Diedre Cole, city commissioner

“Absolutely. When you have seven people on the commission, it’s too easy for someone to hide and sit in the weeds. You want to gain more cohesiveness? Then the commission needs to be reduced.”
—Dennis Murray Jr.

“I would absolutely support the notion of reducing (the number of commissioners) from seven to five. It can be very difficult to get seven minds in the same direction. Moving to five makes perfect sense.”
— Scott Schell

“I would support going down from seven to five commissioners.”
—Naomi Twine

Note: Commissioners are paid $5,200 a year. The ex officio mayor, one of seven city commissioners, receives $6,400 a year. Many candidates said they support raising the pay for commissioners and advocated higher pay.

Watch the debate in the player below



Right off the bat, the candidates want a raise even before they are elected in. What does that tell the voters? Do they really care about the most important issues at hand? All they want is less representation, commissioners down to five, and more pay to go along with it. It doesn't make for a very good impression.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree that I think five is a good number for the size of the city. If Perkins Township and Sandusky were to come together then increasing it back to seven could work well. Maybe nine? I would also agree that I think it is fair to offer more than $100/week to those who lead the city.

Uncommon Sense

If one of them wants to go down to three, why not just go to one? That way no one can oppose anything and we can have just one person that does whatever he wants. Don't you get it? You want a more representative government so that varying perspectives get considered. Keep it at seven. Raise their pay so we don't just have power hungry people interested in the job. Go to a strong mayor and ward council form of government where someone actually leads and council members have wards they represent. The biggest problem with Sandusky government is no one is accountable as a leader because they're all equals.