Murray voices top concerns

Depending on who you ask, public opinion about Dennis Murray Jr. starkly varies.
Andy Ouriel
Nov 26, 2013
But no one can accuse the lawyer and politician of being bashful.

Murray, one of three newly elected Sandusky city commissioners, frequently posed questions, requests and critiques to other officials at a recent public meeting.

While Murray’s not yet officially a commissioner, he’s allowed to attend meetings and provide input to any issue voted on or discussed.

Murray expressed his concerns about five issues, including why problems exist and his justifications:

Concern No. 1: City officials ignoring the issue of whether to stay or leave City Hall.

• Why it’s an issue: City commissioners haven’t decided on whether to stay, sell off or move offices elsewhere in Sandusky. The building’s old and outdated, with repairs costing upwards of $6 million. Sandusky’s chief building official said he doesn’t feel comfortable investing in a nearly 60-year-old building and recommends constructing an entirely new structure. The municipal court facility is also in shambles, with constant leaks, security issues and other problems.

• Murray’s response: “We need to fish or cut bait with respect to this building. Pouring more money into this building and not having fully resolved the question of where we are going to be in two years makes no sense at all. It makes it all the more likely we will be stuck in an inadequate building.”

Concern No. 2: City commissioners voting on numerous items deemed as “emergency legislation.”

• Why it’s an issue: In a nutshell, emergency legislation allows officials to vote on an issue without giving community members enough notice beforehand.

• Murray’s response: “What I am politely suggesting to staff, moving forward, is to provide an explanation as to why legislation is proposed as emergency legislation. If there’s a good reason for it, I’ll vote for it. But if there isn’t, I’m going to vote ‘no.’ The public has a right to know about an important issue more than just a couple days before the agenda is disseminated and should be able to reflect on what legislation is good.”

Concern No. 3: The lingering status of Bowling Green State University and area schools possibly developing a science center or other research opportunities at the Sandusky Bay Pavilion.

• Why it’s an issue: The park — a long-neglected property, which includes a blighted pool — is a safety risk. Getting education entities involved in the property would help revitalize this East Water Street facility and foster goodwill throughout the community.

• Murray’s response: “Staff at Bowling Green has said ‘We are interested, and we want to go out and raise grant money to support programs there.’ But those funding entities need us to be able to provide proof that they have a secure facility and that we are developing a master plan.”

Concern No. 4: City manager Nicole Ard proceeding with town hall-style meetings and presenting a tentative budget and possible projects to community members without approval, input or support from commissioners.

• Why it’s an issue: Asking about projects without proper funding might be problematic, considering Sandusky faces a $1 million deficit in its $16 million everyday operating budget, funding many services such as fire and police. Officials must balance the budget — either by making cuts or raising revenues, such as taxes — by March.

• Murray’s response: “I’m not sure we don’t have the cart before the horse here. I’d rather have those discussions about the budget before. I prefer the time frame to address some budget issues. Once we have a sense of how that is likely to play out, we can move forward. We need to get feedback from the community and find out what their priorities are.”

Concern No. 5: City commissioners ignoring a request from a local police union to consider naming the new west end overpass after slain Sandusky police Officer Andrew Dunn.

• Why it’s an issue: It’s just overall rude to ignore a request, Murray said.

• Murray’s response: “I thought that was a fine suggestion. I’m certainly open to other suggestions, but my objection was it wasn’t addressed. Just answer the question. If you want to honor more heroes from Sandusky, that’s fine, but let’s do something.”

Comments

pavedparadise

And the price to upgrade City Hall continues to escalate or is it the Sandusky Register putting their own spin on the issue. This is the first time a figure of $6 million to repair has been mentioned.

sandtown born a...

I like the fact he wants to address the issues rather than push it into the background to be left unattended.

SamAdams

I'm one of those residents who can't remotely be called a fan of Dennis Murray. And yet, on these five points at least, I find myself in complete agreement with him. When you're right, you're right...

The Bizness

I agree with you. He is done on with these points.

Pavedparadise needs to realize that as you keep kicking the can down the road the prices will continue to rise. Murray is simply saying that the the city needs to make a decision, and make it ASAP.

pavedparadise

The decision has been made several times in the past to stay put. In fact, if I recall from previous articles on the City Hall issue, the $350,000 returned to the City from the local power company was to be spent on electrical upgrades at City Hall but were squandered elsewhere.

Julie R.

I watched a little bit of it on T.V. until Murray started grandstanding. I then said YUCK and turned it off.

The Bizness

You didn't want to hear someone that is actually trying to do good things?

You probably wanted someone to bring up the corrupt Erie county courts iddnt you? ;)

Julie R.

Murray said it's just overall rude to ignore a request.

It's also overall illegal for courts to ignore legitimate complaints but they sure do it on the 2nd floor of that Erie County courthouse. Do they ignore filings by the Murrays?

1luckydog

Missed your comment, but right on what I was getting at later.

Stop It

One can only stand so much BS from politicians before it turns into a bad LSD trip and gets all fuzzy around the edges.

Darkhorse

Watch for an income tax increase to be placed on the ballot in May. The city can't move city hall without money being available and right now, it is not available.

MrSandusky

Murray is putting on a good show now. Let's see if it continues past January. Remember, he was on the commission before and where did it get us?

Julie R.

I don't believe it got the city of Sandusky anywhere ........ but it sure did make lots of money for the Cleveland attorneys and the rent-a-judges with that bogus sham firing of the Sandusky police chief!

Brick Hamland

Love him or hate him at least he is intelligent and forward looking. Him and Brady should do a good job moving things forward. $6 Million for repairs is crazy, I would think you could tear that down and build a brand new one for less than $6 million.

Julie R.

Brady wasn't concerned about the city of Sandusky when he ran for county commissioner, was he?

1luckydog

Julie R, I wish you would just say who you are. And why you are so angry?? Someone, or entity did something to you, or your family. Sorry if I may have missed your original start of your rants, but give it a rest.

Nemesis

You haven't been paying attention. Long story short, Julie's step siblings cheated her out of her inheritance, with the help of some sleazy lawyers, and some public officials may have been complicit in the matter. Julie has spent the last several years carrying on about it here, trying to make every comment thread about her sad story.

What's amusing is that you didn't know about any of this.

Julie, dear, please take note of this - here is a person who doesn't know your posting history, who has only read a few of your recent posts, and has come to the conclusion, all on his/her own, that you're a nut. Regardless of what you hope to accomplish, what you ARE accomplishing is eroding your credibility at an accelerating rate.

Answer the questions, Julie:

What do you expect this behavior to accomplish?
What has this behavior actually accomplished?
What outcome do you desire for this situation?
How is this behavior supposed to achieve that outcome?

1luckydog

Sorry, she sounds crazy??