Blog: Closed-door commission bad for Sandusky residents

Aug 28, 2012

At the last city commission meeting, the public got a small glimpse of our City Commissioners in rare action. Normally, the commissioners seem to breeze through the legislation segment of the meetings and conduct the other business behind closed doors for nearly an hour.  You have to wonder how the commissioners are really communicating with one another about certain items of business.

The city needs to keep the public more informed as to what is really happening in Sandusky. The city hadn’t notified the public that the EPA had leveled violations on the city. They didn’t bother telling us that ODNR had visited the city in regards to the Pavilion and what ODNR required as a result of their visit. It wasn’t until the stories broke in the paper did the city begin to talk about what was happening. It seems everything is top secret and the less the public is informed the better.  If it were not for the newspaper and the coffeehouse, we wouldn’t know anything about what is going on in our town.

When the commissioners do all their work behind closed doors, we don’t have a chance to evaluate them as to what they are doing on our behalf. We don’t know what they stand for and sometimes when they do speak up, they end up surprising us. When it is time to re-elect them again, you have to wonder what kind of contribution they actually made on our behalf because we never got to see them in action besides passing legislation.

Until next time, it was refreshing to see our commissioners in action. We hope the commissioners will continue to talk freely during the meeting expressing how they feel on certain subjects and projects and less time behind closed doors.

Sharon Johnson is a born and bred Sandusky resident who's outspoken about community issues. Her blog, chronicling her efforts to keep tabs on city projects, is posted here Tuesdays at 11 a.m.



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There are certain things the Commission does that NEED to be behind closed doors. Personnel matters, for example. Other than that, I can't think of anything LEGITIMATE to which the public doesn't have some interest or rights. So...are they REALLY discussing personnel issues so frequently and at such length? Or is there some Sunshine Law issues of which we all ought to be aware?

Julie R.

@ pinkperch: Wow! What one learns by reading the SR comments. I give your comment another 5 minutes and it will be deleted but take note others have seen it. Glad you got it off your chest.  


Others have seen it & and found it totally juvenile & ridiculous


Took about 15 - 20 minutes


I read this blog (and Ms. Johnson's prior blogs) hoping to read something insightful, helpful, investigative, game-changing - something.  This amounts to nothing more than a tattle sheet. 

Really SR - is this even print-worthy?


Say what you will, these are the people that openly brag - "I am a city commissioner."  Again, so what?



Sharon, you brought up a very good point last night. Who's going to investigate Commissioner Brown's concern with Commissioner Cole. IMO Mr. Icsman should check the charter. If Mr. Brown has followed it correctly, then he should report it back to the Commission ASAP. Then he should take a peek at Ms. Cole's actions concerning the search, and who is the "liar" or not. Then let the attorneys that specialize in defamation and lible take it from there.


City Slicker.......OMG......Mr. Iceman already addressed the issue with the City Charter and Mr Brown.  I would have thought he would have stated that outright last night. 

As for Ms Cole, she is the one who should be investigated, not the other commissioners she called liars.  Ms Cole and Mr Poole should present the NAMES of those who placed phone calls to them saying that "no one from Perkins need apply". 

What is the "iceman" to do?  Give lie detector tests to Smith, Brown and Hamilton, whom Ms Cole contacted at three different times, stating she wanted Mr Brown removed and her placed on the committee and  Mr Lang fired and Mr. Matthews put into his position?  When confronted with that, she called THEM liars?  what then, does she get dismissed as a commissioner? 


Was there a meeting between the prior one and the one held yesterday in which the public could have been INFORMED of the EPA leveling a fine against the city?  If so, I think a lot of people must have missed that one. 

I should think it was the newspaper's DUTY to tell the citizens that the EPA was digging about, not the commission.  So what's the point?  Are you bragging or complaining here?

How long was the EC last night?  An hour of 15 min as someone else says?  Are we being fed still another story of exaggeration or misinformation?

I am with Sam on this one.  The commissioners are entitled to their Executive Sessions without telling anyone what it is about as long as they open and close in an open meeting.  That is how the sunshine law reads.  They need not tell anyone what is said.  If that galls anyone too bad.  Perhaps the EPA is what the meeting was about and how they intend to handle it.  The city commission is within its rights to discuss that in private without the public if that is the case. 

I take it last nights meeting got NOTHING accomplished to move anything forward.  How sad.  That is pretty much what happened at the previous meeting despite fireworks and hatefully slung words. 






Republican spin.......



LOL.....not partisian....just a spin to make a spin for no reason whatsoever.  And it is totally unfair for one and all.


EPA has not leveled a FINE against the city.  They issued a Notice of Violation, with the potential for a fine.  This is how things get started....


EPA has not leveled a FINE against the city.  They issued a Notice of Violation, with the potential for a fine.  This is how things get started....


@ wired

Being that the SR is a private enterprise they have no real duty per se to any of us. Those who have a duty to us are thiose we are foolish enough to elect to office. R


@ Richrs.....The Sandusky Register being a newspaper, being a private enterprise or not, is there to print the NEWS.  Their daily ritual is to gather the intel of the daily information of the places and citizens of the area, put in into some form of coherent story and PRESENT it to the public for consumption of the "goings on" around them. That has pretty much been their function for many years.

Whether they like it or not, it has also become their "duty" to print the truth about what is going on and to be fairly accurate in the stories they print.  People have come to depend on the "news" as their sources for what is happening in their community.  So if you do not see it as that, you are free to do so. 

Other, however, buy a daily newspaper for far more complex reasons.  They depend on it, learn from it, and mostly hear about their day around them that they do not see from it.  That is why what goes into it is most important....why newpaper reporting should be honest, above-board and not filled with innuendo and misinformation. 

I think they do have a duty to all their readers to do just that.....honest reporting, honest commentary and honest story telling.  For the MOST part, they have it.  For the most part, they give us that.  And yes, they fulfill that duty, but not always. 

So, IMO, they do have a they took on by becoming a newpaper:  Knowingly, willingly and actively.     30

Julie R.

When they have closed-door meetings and/or meetings that nobody is never notified of take it from one in the know ---- they are up to no good. The courts at the Erie County courthouse are well-known for that illegal juvenile crap, too. The ones on the 2nd floor, anyway.  


@ Julie,  this isn't a court we are talking about, nor is it a judicial system.  Its a commissioner meeting and they have every right to meet behind closed doors, just like the judge sometimes has the right to do with the lawyers.

But you have a different meaning I am sure than what is being discussed here.  You see everything under the meaning of secrecy in LAW......and with THAT I totally agree....especially after what I saw this week. 

I will never again disagree with you on that point.....NEVER EVER AGAIN.  NOT AFTER SEEING IT FIRST HAND.   (email me if you like

On the commissioners I will. They have every right to meet for executive session to discuss something they do not see fit to discuss in public just yet or ever.  That is their right as elected leaders. 


 @Wired: Don't blow a fuse at me. I'm with you on all of that. Maybe I just put it wrong. I don't think that Cole has any business where she is at, and have the utmost respect for Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith. 

Swamp Fox

Would someone please tell me what qualification or achievements this woman has to rate her own blog, other than she always agree with the management of this newspaper.

The Answer Person

monotonous, opinionated, repetitious, obnoxious, boring, tedious, narrowminded, tunnel-visioned, regressive not progressive,

and those are the good ones...

Woody Hayes

 Paper bags.

Super Judge

 Looks HUNGRY!


@city slicker....LOL...I am not really "blowing a fuse" at anyone here except for the stupidity of two certain commissioners, one of whom I admired deeply until this issue, and the person who writes this blog for misinformation once again. . 

Maybe I am misunderstanding what you wrote, but I took it to mean you supported Ms Johnson and what she is saying and about Ms Cole. Mr. Iscman READ the City Charter word for word to that meeting telling the council what was required.  That committee did exactly what was needed.  Mr Brown needed to be THANKED not ridiculed.  It seems Ms Cole didn't want to hear that, nor did Ms Johnson from the sounds of it.  Too bad.  

They did what was needed. They did what was asked of them and people like Cole and Johnson just want to find fault for the sake of finding fault without reason or rhymn.  What is worse, doing so at the eleventh hour.  Why is that?   

I was at the previous council meeting and saw for myself the stupid temper-fit (yes, it call it as I see it) she had and how she debased Mr Brown and his committee for what they had been doing. 

I distrust people who say things like "someone said" or "some told me" but NEVER have a name to go with it.  I don't like gossips.   If someone is going to tell me something, I always ask them to stop unless they don't want their name mentioned when I repeat it, because I can't stand that sort of thing.  If you don't have the courage to say tell it yourself then shut your mouth. 

In this case, the committee had already finished, the final five had been chosen and THEN was when it was suddenly and inexplicably an uproar.  Where were the phone calls and open debate before that time?  Why no difficulty before the final five was named? 

There were no complaints. That's why.   The truth is the job of the committee is DONE.  The final five have gone on to testing, so what is there to REPORT????

Not a darn thing.  That is like asking for an x-ray of an arm that isn't broken. 

Why does anyone want to make this process for chief of police go on any longer than is necessary?  Maybe that is the question that should be asked? 

Who stands to gain from the answer to that question?


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Julie R.

@ wiredmama222: In reference to your comment that a judge has the right to meet with lawyers behind closed doors.......... 

Sorry, but that's not true. The Law states that the presence of all parties, with or without an attorney, are required at any and all hearings. Take that into consideration with the fact that it is well-known in Erie County how attorneys work in illegal collusion with the judges and the other side against their own client(s), you might be able to see the reason behind those sneaky closed-door meetings. Another Law that your Erie County courts don't follow ~ (which ironically is the same thing the FEDS got that corrupt Cuyahoga County Judge Bridgett McCafferty for) ~ OHIO LAW flatly prohibits a judge to converse with a lawyer and/or a party from one side without the presence of the lawyer and/or the party from the other side. Believe me when I say your courts on the 2nd floor of the Erie County courthouse are super good at that illegal practice.


Julie......LAWYERS CAN MEET WITH BOTH SIDES ANY TIME THEY WANT without anyone else present.  It's called ex parte meetings.  They did it in my lawsuit.  I was not present.  They came out and told me what was offered and gave me the chance to decide what I wanted to do. 

It also happened to my husband in a lawsuit in which he was involved in Huron county.  Same thing. 

Sorry, but that is what happened.  You judge everything by what happened to YOU not what has happened to others.  That is a narrow yardstick by which to measure.  Others have had different situations and different outcomes.

Besides that, this is getting WAY off track

Julie R.

"If it were not for the newspaper and the coffeehouse, we wouldn't know anything about what's going on in our town."  

Kudos to the Sandusky Register for keeping the people informed.  


They said the Judge can meet with the LAWYERS.



Erie County Child Support Enforcement Agency had me fired from my job. There is clearly NO BETTER way to make sure a person is making his payments then to have him arrested from his job while on the clock. Then have him sit in county jail for 8 days because the "cause" paperwork has not been prepared by CSEA. I lose my job. Cause for serving warrant is because someone tried to mail me a letter from APD. It bounces return sender. Warrant sent. What could be wrong with that?

I did not move I received letters from CSEA and Clerk of Courts that same week. I had never seen a list of the "sanctions" I was to abide by. Not moving without notice was not on the list once I did see them.

I asked "Why did you do that?". The ECty APD Official said "We just want to make sure the money gets where it is supposed to go!". GREAT PLAN

It was determined I had to go get a Competency Evaluation. I am not very sure what to expect. I am told to expect to be there 4+ hours. I got to go over 300 miles to meet with the staff for less than 10 minutes. They were perplexed. The diagnostic evaluation is to basically ensure the person understands/comprehends the most basic concepts including how the County Government functions with emphasis on the court systems. I have a Master's Degree in Public Administration. I specialized in PUBLIC LAW. I had a 3.9 GPA. I was on a full scholarship? My IQ is north of 140 (MENSA Req).

The people making these decisions have cost me around 40k in "take home" pay so far and can get me setenced with a felony which basically will end my pfrofessional career- have "this much" of a comprehension of ME- absolutely NONE. No clue how misguided having me arrested from work was.

What are my options?