Sandusky city commission 'behind the closed-door'

Matt Westerhold
Aug 5, 2012

Great comments at the poll: What should Sandusky do with the former Surf's Up property?

Wiredmama wrote about a discussion she had with a city commissioer and the commissioner's assurances to her "that NOTHING is being kept from the citizens of this community and that everything is being discussed in the open" is interesting. 

In recent weeks I've had three different contacts from community members concerned that city commissioners during executive (closed-door) commission meetings have discussed the possibility of selling city hall. Given the nature of the contacts the Register received about this issue, it leads me to believe it was discussed during closed-door meetings, but there really is no way to verify whether or not it was a topic kept commissioners kept from public discourse.

One caller who contacted the newsroom with questions about this topic said in his private discussion with a city commissioner the commissioner told him there was concern the commissioners who support selling city hall might get "skewered in the press" if they brought the issue forward for public discussion. That does not seem like a legitimate reason to withhold any public information from the public under any circumstances, although it's understandable there would be concern about the reaction from the community given the deficit spending commissioners already have approved this year and the financial challenges the city faces with the union contracts expiring this year. 

The Register's editorial board has written in the recent past that commissioners should re-visit the topic of city hall and advocated the city have a public dialogue and reconsider the decision to keep it along the waterfront on Miegs Street. But regardless of any stand the newspaper may take on any topic, I hope city commissioners get better at taking public stands across a whole array of important decisions that will have to be made.

This city commission approved a $15.9 million deficit spending budget after about just 10 minutes of public discussion. The contention that "NOTHING is being kept from the citizens of this community and that everything is being discussed in the open" is simply not accurate.

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"Between the Lines" is the area's only public affairs talk program and all prior segments of BTL are available for on-demand viewing anytime at sanduskyregister.com/opinion/blogs/betweenthelines.

Comments

Fireside

Sorry, I took your words as you were on our commission at one time.

I believe this commission, like all Sandusky commissions before, have more info than the public. That is expected and accepted by me.  

I did not hear of any Saturday pre-budget meeting. I do not know the budget specifics but know this commission approved a deficit budget. As a tax paying voter, I do not support that. The buck stops with the commission.

As a taxpayer/voter, I am one of approx 26 thousand check and ballance. I ballance by my vote.

Do I support this commission? YES Do I support all their votes? NO

Do I think this commission is open? NO. Why? Because the Register is waiting for how many public record requests? They are also waiting for Ms. Ard to return how many phone calls? Stalling is not open.  This commission should encourage good relations with the media which in turn informs the public.   

Amerian Dad

@ Fireside...........

Exactly.  The judge does have a "HUGE" next egg to use for an expansion, so expand and use the un-used or "dead" space for other city offices. 

There would be a worthy story for Mr. Westerhold to investigate.  Rather than trying to bash the commission or find some story where there isn't one.  Why don't he investigate how it is that the municipal Judge has such a large cash pot to use for his expansion. 

Would it be too much for the Register and/or the tax payers to see how the Judge suspends the fines on countless citations but assures his Court gets their court costs.  He pads his account, yet the City of Sandusky gets no revenue from treaffic offenders or the like. 

I think the taxpayers would be real interested in how much money would be generated toward the general fund if things were equal across the board with the Court's intake of funds. 

I have no proof to provide, simply providing info I have gathered.  Since Mr. Westerhold is on the cutting edge of Media Investigation, he should have no problem scooping this one. 

 

wiredmama222

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

I wish to apologize to Mr Westerhold for any personal comments agains him that I may have made.  I took his comments to mean that he was accusing ME of not being truthful.  Instead he meant that the information I was being told was not accurate. 

I hereby apologzie to him for anything that I may have said that would make anyone think that Mr Westhold was calling me a liar when he was not doing that at all.

I feel hat the commissioner I spoke with WAS Telling me the truth but the SR does not.  I have no way of proving or disproving it either way.  My way of dealing with this is.....If I find out that this commissioner is lying to me....he will NEVER get the chance to take me in again.  You only get to fool me ONCE. 

If I find out he has lied to me...it will be the last time.  I am not the person you want for an enemy.  It would be much better for him to seep me as a friend than an enemy.  Fair warning, councilman.  

car 54

   Hey wiredmama,aka Commissioner Farrar, have a great day.

wiredmama222

I am NOT commissioner Farrar.  Sorry, car 54.  I am not a commissioner at all.  I used to be a commissioner in a small town near here for a very short time.  But you have me mixed up with someone that I am not. 

Sorry.  And by the way, I left a message for you on the other posting.  You misght want to go take a look. 

I cannot image how YOUR mind works, or what makes you think that I am this person.  Unfortunately you have me mixed up with someone else.   LOL.   Totally mixed up. 

Julie R.

So what exactly does everybody think the Sandusky city commissioners are doing behind closed doors, anyway? I doubt very much that their "secret meetings" are for any illegal motives like the ones that your judges at the Erie County courthouse are well-known for. 

Darkhorse

It is not good when the city staff or commissioners duck the press or even withhold public records as it makes like they are hiding a lot of things..

Julie R.

"The city commision approved a 15.9 million deficit after about just 10 minutes of public discussion.  The contention that "NOTHING is being kept from the citizens of this community and that everything is being discussed in the open" is simply not accurate."

@ wiredmama222:  I think a commissioner lied to you.  

Fireside

PSSSTTTT.....wanna know what is going on? Go to the hardware shop and ask Jeff and Pervis yourself! You may even get lucky and be there when Julie is being told too!

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