Sandusky fire chief submits resignation

Retirement letter indicates fire Chief Paul Ricci will retire in October
Andy Ouriel
Jan 20, 2014

Sandusky fire Chief Paul Ricci submitted his resignation letter, effective Oct. 8 — amid a time in which a city budget shortfall severely threatens his department's staffing levels.

Ricci sent a copy of the memo to the Register and city commissioner Dick Brady confirmed his sudden departure.

It's unclear exactly why Ricci's retiring, especially since he became chief less than three years ago after beating many other candidates in a competitive search process.

The retirement also comes when a $1.1 million shortfall in the city's $16.3 million everyday operating budget is hitting his department the hardest.

A tentative proposal shows the fire department reducing about $530,000, which includes laying off four full-time firefighters by May.

Ricci didn't mention staffing issues or budget constraints in his one-paragraph retirement memo.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the city of Sandusky and the Sandusky Fire Department. My 32 years in the fire serve have been very rewarding, and I have been fortunate to meet and work with so many fine employees throughout city government. I want to thank all of you for providing me opportunities to succeed and being a source of support and guidance. Being the fire chief has been an incredible experience and one that I will always cherish. It is time for me, however, to turn the organization over to the next generation of officers.

Effective Oct. 8, 2014 at 5 p.m., I will retire from the city of Sandusky Fire Department. I provide this notice at this time to provide ample time for an orderly and professional transition.

Pick up Tuesday's Register to read more about why Ricci retired.



THANKS Chief Ricci !
Also, a 9 month notice is not "sudden" in my book.


Not at all happy to hear this bit of news.


It is unclear why he is retiring? Perhaps he has reached the years of service and age at which one usually retires. Andy, not every story has to have undertones of what ever controversy you are trying to sell to your readers this week.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks again BDupler, for offering your keen perspective. 


He didn't resign, he retired. What's the big deal. He gave adequate time to find his replacement. No controversy here.




Maybe Doug Coletta can apply since he's doing an bang up job at his new


Andy, why did you put "resign" in the headline when he was retiring? Like others said, nine months is not "sudden" notice. This article should have highlighted Ricci's acomplishments over his career and as chief, but once again, you, Westerhold, and SR staff take every chance you get for anti-local government rhetoric.

Matt Westerhold

This article was a breaking news item. Thanks for your suggestions Sandman as to how it should have been written, but you are jumping the gun a bit. Also, it is a resignation at a time when the fire department is making cuts. There is no anti-government rhetoric in simply reporting that information.

Tsu Dho Nimh

It is a RETIREMENT at a time when the fire dept is make cuts. There is a difference, Matt.


Its not hard to figure out. A town the size of Sandusky needs a minimum number of firefighters. Even before the budget cuts the department was understaffed. Now he is losing 4 men. This town is going to have a bad fire and someone is going to die. He doesnt want to be held responsible when this happens.


Thank you, Paul, for the outstanding service and leadership you continue to provide to the citizens of Sandusky. Enjoy you retirement.


Submitting retirement papers and resigning are totally the same thing right? I mean they have to be. A guy has enough time to collect his pension and submits the paperwork to do so but no, he's resigning because MW said so. What a joke

Man of the Republic

Certainly an odd headline; I would think retire would have been appropriate as opposed to resign. Still good to see this come out as it breaks. Chief Ricci has certainly done the city well, and I would hope the SR takes some time to highlight him in the coming months. Overall the criticism of this article seems a little unwarranted.


SR finds so little to report that they feel the need to sensationalize any little thing that comes along. Epic fail again.


Maybe he's retiring in hopes that someone can move up in the ranks, thus saving at least 1 of the 4 jobs.


Thanks, chief, for all your good work!


Why was it not breaking news when Mat was pulled over for driving under suspension ?


When was that good time ? Is there an article ?


I think it was a couple months ago, saw in the police blotter. You all know there is no way they will be a story on this. But if it were a public employee, would make sure it would be headlines.


Any idea why his license got suspended ?


$700,000 cuts from the fire department budget out of a$1.1 million shortfall in the city budget and you're surprised that he's leaving??? The commissioners' first item on the agenda should be to get rid of the city manager who isn't doing her job instead of being hell bent on decimating the fire department.

Paul E. Ricci

I want to thank all of you for your kind words. To shed some light on the subject, I was eligible to retire in August of 2009. I deferred my retirement at that time because I believed I still had much to offer the Citizens of Sandusky. The one stipulation to deferring retirement, I could not stay longer than October 2017. I was named the interim Chief of Department in May 2010 and officially sworn into the position on March 14, 2011. It is true, we have faced many challenges and the men and women of the Sandusky Fire Department have performed admirably. Why retire now? Fair question. I have spent 32 years in public safety. The last three and a half as Fire Chief. This has been an incredible but challenging experience and one I will always cherish. By my retirement date, I will have nearly 5 years as a Fire Chief. Three to Seven years is the typical tenure with five being the average. This is not a bad idea, because departments need to continue to grow and seek fresh ideas as the fire service will certainly continue to evolve. As a professional courtesy, retiring Chief Officers should give 6-9 months notice to enable the employer to transition the department under new leadership. This is why I presented a "Memo of Retirement" to the City of Sandusky and a copy to the Sandusky Register. The memo is a professional means of stating ones intent. I have a copy on file. I was asked by Andy Ouriel.."What kind of message does this send the department and the community" in the midst of budget cuts? This is a fair question. We are working hard to reduce the impact of cuts on the service delivery system. Concessions made by the Firefighters Union will help ensure the retention of two firefighters, thus the need to lay off four firefighters. I have a fine staff of fire officers qualified to take my place. I am not retiring until October 2014. There is much to finish and the message I want to send is I will continue to fight for the men and women of the Sandusky Fire Department and I will continue to fight for the Citizens of Sandusky. We will continue to provide the best possible service with the available resources. Thank you for your continued support and kind words. Sincerely, Chief Paul E. Ricci


Thank you Mr. Ricci for posting this and your service to the City. But beware, certain individuals will look to make a story out of nothing. I wish you all the luck.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Thank you for staying as long as you have.


I agree with other postings on here. To "resign" has a tendency to lead someone to believe it was under undesirable circumstances. With all the articles about staffing cuts and the like, it is apparent the SR took the opportunity to grab its readers by putting that insinuation out there. In none of the Chiefs correspondence did he say 'resign'. He said 'retire'.
Irregardless, Chief Ricci has always proven himself as a professional. The City should be greatful they had someone like him to take charge of that department.
Thank you for your 32 years of accomplished service to the community Chief! Your RETIREMENT is well deserved.

T. A. Schwanger


Thank you Chief Ricci. It has been a privilege to have worked with you and staff on a number of City projects, including the Huron Park ball field and Hoopers Trailer Park.

I hope I don't taint your chances, but I personally believe you would make a great City Manager, with minimal training in City government.


Well done Chief! Thanks for all.

I expect tomorrow's headline:
"Chief lashes out online and denies allegations"

Tsu Dho Nimh

Funny but probably true!


Thank you, Paul, for your lifetime of work in fire service. You have led by example as a mentor and coach to many. I wish you the best in the ensuing seven months as you finish your work, and wish the city the best in finding someone to fill the position of chief. Your shoes will be a challenge to fill!