Sandusky firefighters talk about looming cuts

Matt Westerhold
Feb 19, 2014
Ryan Brotherton, vice president of the Sandusky Fire Department’s firefighters union, and Sandusky fire Lt. Adam Butler were our guests today on “Between the Lines Live” at the Sandusky Register building in downtown Sandusky.
The city is looking to balance its 2014 operating budget by making personnel cuts in the Fire Department later this year, a move the union opposes.
Any more manpower decreases in the department will put residents and firefighters at risk, Brotherton said.

The department already has adjusted to severe cuts previously, reducing response teams. “It would be negligent to allow any more cuts,” Brotherton said.

Brotherton and Butler took

 questions from the audience.

Watch the program in the player below




Please check again. A family member of mine living in Sandusky was billed for an ambulance run at $300 plus. It may be that Perkins does not charge residents for ambulance runs. I Sandusky it doesn't seem to be the case.



Steve P

The unfortunate fact is that when the fire department applied for and received this grant they didn't get the approval of the city commission and had no idea if the position could be funded after the grant expired, which was the responsibility of the chief and whoever wrote and submitted the grant. At the same time the police department asked for approval from the city commission for a similar type grant and was told funding at the end of the grant could not be guaranteed, the police department did not apply for the grant because of that. The city will be on the hook for unemployment benefits resulting from the actions of those who submitted the grant without a guarantee of continued local funding.


Steve P,

The broadcast clears up any misunderstanding folks may have about the grant.

Also of interest about the grant is the following excerpt from the 2011 Fire Department Annual Report:

"The Sandusky Fire Department experienced many operational challenges in 2011. Faced with a diminishing tax base, significant reductions in the fire department operating budget forced lay offs and periodic closure of station 3. With the assistance of the IAFF Local 327 and grant funding, the fire department was able to re-establish staffing and reopen station 3. Firefighters Rudy Ruiz and Adam Butler worked diligently to secure a $1,000,000 SAFER grant to bring back laid off firefighters. Although this grant opportunity only exists for 24 months, it gives the fire department the opportunity to return to safer staffing levels and allows the City of Sandusky time to find alternative funding options for calendar year 2013."

In The Know

Steve P, City commission DID approve it. Ordinance 11-012 passed on February 14, 2011

Steve P

In The Know, you are correct except, read the ordinance it was passed AFTER the grant was submitted and approved by the feds. Why wasn't the procedure used that the police department followed by seeking commission approval BEFORE submitting the grant with the local funding ramifications?

In The Know

I could be wrong, and I can't seem to find the supporting data for this, but I believe at one time I read where there was an agreement between the then commission and the fire department in the form of a verbal agreement to apply for the grant. The reason I believe it wasn't done formally was due to time restraints on applying for the grant itself. Again, I could be wrong, and I'll keep searching for it.


MJKSON44: Really? Last I checked my pay check comes from a Fire Department not a private EMS firm, so you must have me confused with another publicsafety. Sorry.

Comrade Boose

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Everyone has missed the point. They "cannot" cut these positions. We are already under staffed per guidelines for safety. They have worked around it with volunteer and mutual aid for now. But with these 4 gone they cannot meet the national safety standards even with their work around. They need to guarantee safety. If they want to cut the fire department they have to cut EMS out of it and contract it out. End of story.



Is there a law that mandates a city to provide police and fire services to their constitutes ? How do you guarantee safety?

Comrade Boose

Simpleton, what do you think you pay taxes for.



Please open your brain and think before commenting. Let me make this concept easier for you.

Is a city obligated to tax citizens to pay for fire and police? No. It is a service we have become accustom to receiving. The amount of service is dependent on what citizens which to support. If the grant is over than the jobs are over unless a levy was passed to cover the cost. Why is this so hard to understand


It's hard for me to understand why there has been no discussion by the commission about raising the admission tax.

The admission tax could be put on the ballot and approved for 2015. The city could transfer funds from the fire equipment fund to keep these employees on the job and replenish the equipment fund next year with the new admission tax revenues.

Comrade Boose

Matt Westerhold KUDO's to you on getting this on BTL before Monday's meeting


I live in Sandusky (have all of my life)and I pay my taxes and I happen to appreciate EVERY one of our firefighters and police officers! And I expect them ALL to stay! We need each and EVERY one of them! For those of you who cry we are broke~well~lets take from the top for a change and keep the people that are NEEDED (maybe that's what YOU are afraid of?)! This has been going on for far too long~taking the people needed! As for the people here that feel the need to bash the way the firemen are dressed ~ you're kidding right? They are firemen and they were in their street clothes~so what! Any time you feel the need to bash these people~I welcome you at any time to pull up your big boy pants and go do what they do everyday for a living! Bet you couldn't make a mole on their~well~never mind :) Thank you gentlemen for all you do and you look GREAT!


I believe in Huron if you are a resident you are not charged but if you are not you will be billed (or your insurance) for the run.

my oh my

The city's population has declined along with businesses and industries closing so going back to past manpower numbers is not that bad of an idea actually.

Ralph J.

Sandusky is to blame for many of its financial problems. Sourcing out work to outside lawyers was money wasted. Why even bother to have a law directer? Another lost opportunity was not fighting for a casino which would be located in Sandusky instead of casinos in Toledo and Cleveland. Why should Sandusky pay for damage to the roads used by millions of tourists? Raise the admission tax to pay for fire and police protection and road maintenance. Sandusky will lose while they snooze as in the past. A state sales tax will be charged on admissions to amusement parks in the future.


This is very important news. If the State starts adding sales tax to admissions of 5%, that money will go to the State and County not the City and make it more difficult to obtain 8% admissions tax.

Admissions Tax money all stays in the City to compensate for the use of City services and infrastructure. Cleveland charges 8% on stadium admissions. At $54.99 per ticket, Cedar Point tourists currently pay $1.65 Admissions tax. At 8% it would be $4.40 an increase of $2.75 or 5%.

So the choices for Sandusky residents are do nothing an let the State and County take the $2.75 per ticket or pass the Admissions Tax and keep it for the city use.

The article was also interesting because of the proposal to add sales tax to attorney billings. This is long overdue as law firms can be used as fronts to launder funds or hide income. With sales tax reports that will be more difficult to accomplish and the public will be able to determine how much tax money is flowing into private law firms through out sourced work.

Ralph J.

How much did that housing scandal and the Nuesse saga cost?

Dr. Information

Everyone is having to do the same with less.

Ned Mandingo

Welcome to the real world.


DR. and Ned must be in management~why don't we do more with less with YOUR jobs so you can see first hand what it REALLY feels like!!! It isn't easy and it isn't fun`but I would bet~YOU wouldn't know.

Dr. Information

This isn't about me, this is about tax payers and the fact that people are broke. Everyone expects the school systems to do the same or more with less, so why not other public entities?

Like I said, put a fire levy up to vote, see if the people actually think it warrants more money out of their pocket. Simple way to end this discussion.

Ned Mandingo




How does that work where you work? You have volunteers stepping up and working gratis so management can cut back on your brothers and sisters in the union? I'm sure. lol.

Response times mean nothing to you for fire or rescue? I don't believe you.

Comrade Boose

First of all did you listen to the BTL they are living in the real world and have been working with less. Their jobs are not high paying like some union jobs are. Their jobs are highly skilled. Things were given up in the past to save their union brothers jobs only to be lied to by the powers to be. Get off of this volunteer kick already they run to many calls for that. Actually SIMPLETON a lot of jobs in the city of Sandusky government were eliminated. And you wonder why your job at the plant was eliminated by robots, because you are a MAROON!!!


The staffing of public safety forces is one more example of why the line on Perkins Avenue that divides the City of Sandusky and Perkins Township should disappear. It's time to move past old, outdated practices and combine Sandusky and Perkins. Having all of the area as one government entity would bring in economies of scale plus more political influence in Columbus.

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”