Secret documents cost taxpayers big money

Matt Westerhold
Mar 23, 2010

 

In this age of "transparent" governments, I thought it would be good to compile a list of some of the public documents that have not yet seen the light of day:

*The report that led to Perkins police Lt. Al Jenkins firing (estimated cost to taxpayers, $10,000);

*The city report into allegations of sexual harassment against Sandusky city manager Matt Kline (estimated cost to taxpayers, $100,000);

*The settlement documents that led to former Perkins police Chief Tim McClung's retirement (estimated cost to taxpayers, $200,000 including legal fees);

*The state BCI report on allegations that Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter used cocaine (estimated cost to taxpayers, $100,000);

*The transcripts of Baxter's testimony;

*Documents related to the Rev. Fant-Bill Dwelle lawsuit, (estimated cost to taxpayers, $50,000);

*The disciplinary letters, if any, penned after the Sandusky Fire Department's firehouse-frathouse death threats against fire Chief Mike Meinzer investigation (estimated cost to taxpayers, $50,000);

*Invoices and expenses for attorney Margaret Cannon and her team of two others from the out-of-town law firm representing the city (estimated cost to taxpayers, $100,000);

*Invoices, expenses and payments to retired Judge Joseph Cirigliano (estimated cost to taxpayers, $75,000);

*Expenses related to city manager Matt Kline's absences from daily duties due to the hearings (estimated cost to taxpayers, $20,000);

*Correspondence between the city and its various insurers and representatives;

*Discussion during closed-door executive sessions;

*Craig Stahl's super-secret city budget plan that would cause chaos if it were to be revealed;

*Videotapes of interviews with drug suspects;

*Discovery from any or every court case;

*Court documents that are "lost" in the system;

*And, according to William Lang, yet another Cleveland attorney hired by the city of Sandusky to sandbag and defend the city's lack of transparency, a secret document is any document that an attorney handles. Lang called me earlier this week to let me know.

Whew.

In this age of transparency.

Let the sun shine in ... let the sun shine.

Comments

ibd1

Mr. Westerhold, I commend you for your reporting on this and other similar issues. Kind of reminds me of the old Watergate days. I hope you keep up the good work and I hope that Justice comes to the good Citizens of Sandusky. This has to be some of the darker days in the history of this fine town. By the way, we have never met, but I am a frequent reader of your newspaper, which I think is the best in Northern Ohio.

smoke and mirrors

To arrive at a definitive figure would require city,county and township to open its financial books and that just won't happen.Keep up the good work,Matt.

MontegoBay1

Matt, your editorials keep getting more and more boring. Why do you think you deserve taped interviews with suspected drug dealers? I mean why do you think you're entitled to this information? You are a newspaper editor and a BAD one at that. What would all of this do? You have personal vendettas against so many people in this town, all in the name of Kim Nuesse. Its really only a matter of time, before the Lorain Journal causes the SR to go belly up. See they have REAL journalists, who report the truth and dont use their paper as a platform to try and destroy good strong people in the community. Matt Kline, Charlie Sams, Brett Fuqua, Phil Frost have all been the victims of your unprovoked attacks and accusations, if one or all of them were wise, they would sue you for slander. I just would like to know why you would do this for a woman who, up until 2 years ago, was no where near to being a member of this community. So she comes in here, trys to run the Police Department into the ground, gets canned for several reasons and because of that you slander all these men?? I understand when you have a "crush" on a woman, you try to make yourself appear more important than you are, but I mean C'mon Matt, LOL.....you dont think she sees through YOUR "Transparencies"??? LMAO!!!! Youre SO pathetic Matt!!!

Julie R.

Keep dogging 'em, Matt. Concealment of documents is illegal......

Julie R.

William Lang, ANOTHER Cleveland attorney that will be paid with Erie County tax dollars, claims a secret document is any document that an attorney handles......Considering how lawyers think everybody should just naturally take their word for everything, maybe the SR should call his bluff and ask him for the number of this joke law.

timlavigne

jOE CITIZEN, not that I want to defend Matt but we all should have a right to these documents. We pay for these out of our taxpayer money and no document unless it is in the interest of national security should be a secreat document. WE as citizens need to demand more from our goverment and start throwing any and all bums out of office that forget that they answer to us.

This is what the newspaper should be doing, getting information on what our goverment is doing with our tax dollars. Not protecting anyone in office and holding all of them to the same measuring stick.

timlavigne

QUESTION Joe, why does that fact that up to 2 years ago she was not part of the communtiy affect anything here. So youR telling me that fact makes her disqualified becasue she is not one of the good old boys. To me that makes her more disqualified because she has no one to give a pay back.

underthebridge

The SR destroyed Matt Kline? You're kidding me right?