Murman report: A mile wide and an inch deep

Matt Westerhold
Mar 23, 2010

When he first began his $20,000 integrity probe of police Chief Kim Nuesse, attorney Michael Murman sent out a press release.

Anyone with “first-hand knowledge of accusations” against Nuesse should contact him. He also wanted to hear from anyone with “counter-accusations against other city officials.”

But Murman used different words to describe that invitation in the summary report of his investigation:

“(Despite) the almost constant presence of the investigators in the community over the past 10 weeks and a press release inviting those with information favorable to the chief to come forward, their silence has been deafening.”

Congratulations to city commissioners Dennis Murray Jr. and Craig Stahl, and city manger Matt Kline and law director Don Icsman.

You got exactly what you wanted: An investigation all boxed up that says exactly what you wanted it to say.

Comments

Anonymous

Give it up already!!!!!

Anonymous

I'm sorry, but did I miss your apology somewhere Mr. Westerhold? I am waiting to hear you say that you were wrong. When will you realize that you were manipulated? I hope it dawns on you one day that you have been a puppet for someone elses grand schemes. Perhaps it is time to call for your resignation?

Anonymous

Still waiting on your apology to all the service men and women also.

reader

How do you explain the rush to merge dispatch with Perkins ? The chief does not seem to have been honest with the city about the dire need. What were her
reasons for pushing that merger ? Why don't you ask her....and ask McClung also ?

You whine and complain about how unfair the investigation but fail to do any investigative reporting to find truth.

Oh yeah, good job on the obituaries, Matt.

Anonymous

I am suspicious that it took a couple of weeks for Kline to read the report, another attorney had to look over the work, and wondering if someone else altered the report because of the typos and misspellings. How could a report coming out of an attorney's office be so unprofessional as to the typos and misspellings? There were even lineouts instead of retyping it over; that report was a mess.

Anonymous

he's standing by his woman and his man. Not a single fact or argument refuting anything in the Murman report.

Anonymous

Matt wrote on May 29, 2008 11:11 AM:

" 05/29/2008
Report says Nuesse has lost ability to lead cops
By RICHARD PAYERCHIN , Sandusky Bureau Chief

SANDUSKY -- Police Chief Kim Nuesse ''began well'' in her job but ''can no longer lead the Sandusky police department,'' said a report by an independent attorney assigned to investigate her job performance.
Sandusky City Manager Matt Kline yesterday made public the report compiled by attorney Michael Murman, a former Lakewood law director and prosecutor for Cuyahoga County.

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The report included more than 500 pages of notes and summaries of at least 53 interviews with many of the top law enforcement officers and elected Sandusky and Erie County officials.

His conclusion: ''There is no doubt in the minds of the investigative team that Chief Nuesse can no longer lead the Sandusky police department.

''Whatever discipline is imposed, unless the city is prepared for the wholesale replacement of the command and support staff in the police department she should not be reinstated as chief of police,'' Murman wrote.

As of today, Nuesse remains the city's top police officer but is on paid administrative leave.

Kline declined to comment on the substance of the report.

''We'll proceed expeditiously and professionally,'' he said.

Sandusky's six city commissioners also declined to comment on the report. They received their copies of the documents yesterday and yesterday evening all said they did not have time to review it yet.

Nuesse's attorney dismissed the tome as ''biased.''

''This appears to be a very biased report based upon nothing more than innuendoes and gripes of some disgruntled employees and ex-employees,'' Bailey said.

''I find it interesting that a local psychologist reported having officers tell him they wouldn't take orders from a woman,'' Bailey said. ''Matt Kline needs Kim Nuesse gone to cover up his own misconduct.''

Murman's recommendation included three main issues with the chief.

''First and foremost, neither her subordinates nor the larger law enforcement community, except Chief McClung, believe they can rely on her to be truthful,'' Murman wrote, referring to Perkins Police Chief Tim McClung.

''Secondly, there is little doubt that chaos will ensue if her behavior is rewarded by reinstatement and it becomes precedent, the standard of acceptable behavior for her command staff and the rank and file,'' Murman wrote.

''Thirdly, she never earned the trust and respect of the police or the unsworn staff under her command,'' Murman wrote.

Many of Nuesse's supporters have seen her public persona but have not dealt with her inside the department, Murman wrote.

''Chief McClung is a special case,'' Murman wrote. ''He has nothing but praise for the chief and acknowledged that he would be pleased to be appointed captain of the Sandusky police department and serve under her command following his imminent retirement from Perkins Township.''

Nuesse was placed on leave March 10, shortly after a meeting in which Sandusky city commissioners stated the city no longer would look to combine its police dispatch operations with Perkins Township.

Murman's report includes information on the joint dispatch discussions, along with detailed information about the inner workings of the Sandusky police department.

Among the issues:

-- Capt. Gary Frankowski voided a parking ticket that officer James Ommert wrote for Nuesse's unmarked car when he found it parked about 4 feet from the curb in the 100 block of Columbus Avenue on Sept. 11, 2006.

In interviews, Nuesse and Frankowski said the ticket was not justified because there was no violation. However, the incident caused a ''scandal'' in the department, Murman wrote.

''The tampering with records to avoid the parking fine may seem minor, but to her subordinates it is emblematic of a double standard and disrespect for the law they are sworn to uphold,'' Murman wrote.

-- Sandusky police officers filed a labor grievance when Nuesse assigned two Sandusky officers to a narcotics unit under the command of Perkins police Sgt. Vince Donald.

The move ''caused a great deal of friction and problems within the Sandusky Police Department, as many employed by the department were astounded that an outside the department police officer was brought in to supervise the unit,'' said Sandusky police Sgt. John Orzech.

The officers withdrew the grievance when Orzech was appointed to lead that unit.

-- Nuesse worked to create a regional police special response team, or SRT, without consulting Sandusky SRT members, said Sgt. Ronald Snyder, who resigned as commander of the city police SRT.

Under a new SRT, it appeared most of the members would come from Perkins police, which had a larger training budget, Snyder said. He left that post ''due to the lack of communication between me and Chief Nuesse,'' Snyder said.

-- Nuesse three times missed meetings with vendors who came to demonstrate various computer and electrical systems, said Detective Donald Rumbutis. He handled the department's computer networks and stated he retired after 28 years because of Nuesse.

-- Nuesse worked to keep Lt. Mel Burns on the police department after Burns last summer was arrested for fighting with a bar bouncer on Put-in-Bay, said Lt. Phil Frost. Burns later was fired by Kline.

-- Nuesse did not allow reinstallation of laptop computers that were removed from police cruisers due to technical problems, Frost said. Although the technical company lowered its cost for the job, Nuesse did not allow the reinstallation because the company had been referred by the Erie County Sheriff's Office, Frost said.

-- Nuesse stopped going to Erie County Sheriff Terry Lyons' monthly police chiefs meetings and formed her own Firelands Chiefs of Police Association, which also had monthly meetings, said Assistant Chief Charlie Sams. Lyons attended the meetings held by Nuesse, he added.

-- Nuesse made no attempt to get $180,000 owed to the city police from seizures and forfeitures collected during investigations by the former Erie County Drug Task Force, said Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter.

-- Nuesse first supported, then questioned, the need for a sales tax levy to pay for the drug task force and increased space at the Erie County Jail, Baxter said. When Nuesse questioned the issue before the November 2006 vote, the issue failed at the ballot box, he said.

-- Nuesse coordinated a mass arrest raid with the U.S. Marshall Service, but did not consult the sheriff's office, which constantly deals with overcrowding at the jail, Lyons said.

-- Nuesse told Murray, Stahl and Crandall that she had seen the sheriff's dispatch center in operation, when she had toured that center while it was under construction, said Crandall and Murray.

-- Nuesse had talked with her administrative assistant, Mary Ann Kuligowski, about possibly moving to a position in Kline's office so Human Resources Specialist Connie Nicholson could become Nuesse's secretary, Kuligowski said. However, Kuligowski later spoke with Kline, who had no instructions to eliminate Nicholson's position in the administrative services department and who had not spoken to city commissioners about moving Kuligowski to his office.

-- Psychologist Wayne Morse, who evaluated police officer candidates, told investigators ''he has clients who are involved in law enforcement who have told him that when Chief Nuesse was first hired, police officers on the Sandusky Police Department had indicated that they were not going to follow orders from a woman.''

The complete report is available by making a public records request through Kline's office at Sandusky City Hall, 222 Meigs St. Due to the number of pages at five cents a page, the cost for copies is $26.10. "

Report Abuse

EC wrote on May 29, 2008 8:46 AM:

out of town

You have nothing to apologize for Matt. You are right, they got what they wanted. Lesson to the city, never ever try to hire from the outside, this investigation has set the city back 50 years. Promotion and hiring will all be from the inside because we can never trust those that come from the outside.

She wasn't perfect, but this investigation was a witch hunt, and the report is filled with emotional statements that have to make you question the motive.

Anonymous

This report is filled with fact based statements and comments made by her fellow officers. These are the people that SHOULD know the full deal since they worked with her on a daily basis. I wish I could say I was surprised at the amount of times McClungs name was mentioned in the report. That was her first mistake, getting mixed up with him. The only person that took this to an emotional level was Nuesse herself.

Anonymous

Bloggers,
Enough, already. Don't get bent out of shape by an opinion writer's opinion. If you do not like wnat a writer lime Matt writes then do not read or respond to his columns. It is as simple as that!

Anonymous

I guess what they say is true...ignorance is bliss. Enjoy your world of make believe.

Anonymous

Hi mom, yeah Matt hear again. I know, I know mom, you told me to watch out for little lying hussies, but she just made me feel sooo good, telling me what I wanted to hear, about how Big of a gossip columnist I am. But mom, I can't help myself, every time she cocked her head at me, laughed, and called me "Mataya" with her little raspy voice. Stop it mom, I know she lies a lot, but I just love her, and it gives me an outlet for all my pent up emotions from when that thing happened to me. You know when I was little and the guy did the.............. I just can't say it mom. Pleease leave me alone and don't call me again mom. It's over between us and I have to go be with her. I hope her husband never catches us, because he has been looking at us real mean since I keep defending her. I feel so sad mom, that this had to happen, I never get to see her gain in her little police outfit. I know mom, I do feel like a joke now that it's all out, but I just can't say I was wrong. Darn those guys for all being right about her, they spoiled everything. She already talking about moving away from here. Waaaaaa! MOMMIE HELP!!!

Anonymous

Matt resign now and try to save face
Give it up you lost and no matter what you do your not going to win

Anonymous

Congratulations to city commissioners Dennis Murray Jr. and Craig Stahl, and city manger Matt Kline and law director Don Icsman. You got your MAI report (made as instructed). The stink of this situation you have created will follow you the rest of your life. They wrote a book about Mansfield, OH a few years back. The title was "Rotten to the core." I think a new one should be written about Sandusky. We could call it "Rotten to the shore!"

Anonymous

After reading approx. 240 pages of this infantile report I can honestly say that all this hoopla is hearsay. He said, she said. I can also understand some of the things that Nuesse did. I don't trust the commissioners or this present city manager and the ranking police officers are just part of the good ol boys club which if allowed to stay will result in the same-o, same-o, in this peyton place of a department. It still looks like and sounds like the top officers were conspiring against a female police chief. We would be better served by canning everyone of these ranking dirtbags and putting Nuesse back in control with a complete new set of Captains and Lt's. The family tie-ins of the Lyons and Baxter and Icsman is worse then a mafia. To take sides and believe either side is like tossing a coin, so let's start over with new ranking officers and see where it leads us. There wasn't any criminal offense, as some of the bloggers seem to think took place, and neither side is innocent in this matter. If we have to hire a new chief then go outside and hire another female and let's see if these officers will co-operate with her, if not then if looks like it really is the fault of these same officers and not the chief.

Anonymous

Yes, it was a witch hunt. Guess what they caught? A witch. I'd call that a success.

Anonymous

List of ok things to do if you work for Sandusky Police: Say an officer that repeatedly raped a teenage girl in a police station is a good guy and should not go to jail--take free coffee and other items from local businesses--sit behind the powerhouse at Campbell School and talk on your cell phone--- Things that are bad, telling Kevin Baxter where to shove it--teaming up with Perkins Police--arresting people with warrants with out the express written permission of every county employee--Being a woman--Asking your fellow officers to not be stereotypical cops.

Anonymous

Westerhold can't even write six paragraphs by himself without a spelling error.

On another note, does anybody realize that the contents of this report was taken down by a stenographer and those types of typos can't be changed when it is copied over to a text document. Be happy you got to see exactly what was said in those interviews. If they changed even a word they would be accused of tampering with the report.

Westerhold, this report confirms your ignorance. If you think her actions are OK, then it's obvious you have no idea how to manage either.

You have made yourself part of the story, which violates one of the rules a journalist should follow. But hey, you're not much of a journalist, anyway. You are a joke and you've turned the Register into one as well. Nobody will ever trust another word that comes from your keyboard.

Anonymous

Matt you just dont get it do you??? You were caught along with her,now give it up!!!! No one belives anything you say anymore and you are nothing more than a gossip columinst now. You are such ajerk, well you are more than that but I cant swear on here so jerk will have to do for now, youre pathetic.....

Anonymous

It really doesn't matter what Matt thinks, or the IMA, or any of us. We didn't hire her, the City did. If they think she doesn't represent the City in the best possible way, she's gone. Like any other employee anywhere.
If your bosses don't feel you're right for the job anymore, your gone. The City will do the right thing, she'll be gone.

Anonymous

i wrote a song circa 1968..THIS IS A MANS WORLD.....

Anonymous

No executive session for two meetings in a row. How much more time is going to pass before Kline makes a decision on Nuesse? How can the commission not discuss this report in executive session and render a personnel decision? How are the commissioners communicating these days?

Anonymous

Let me preface my remarks by stating I have no stake in the behavior of Nuesse, her supporters, or her detractors.

That aside, a good attorney can make anyone look bad. Here is my "Murman Investigation" of Jesus.

Jesus Christ was born to an extremely influential family. He has a spotty work history, dabbling in carpentry and fishing. There is no evidence He ever attended school, let alone college, although He seems to enjoy impressing people by spontaneously curing illnesses without a medical license. He maintains friendships with thieves and a known "lady of the night", and in recent centuries is known for appearing in churches wearing nothing but His underwear.

Jesus' conversation with Satan is well documented, and his personal hygiene is lacking to the point that a disciple once washed His feet. He refuses to shave or cut His hair. Jesus once lost his temper at a temple, overturning the tables of innocent moneylenders.

There is no evidence that Jesus ever filed a tax return, and although He was sent to alleviate the suffering of humanity, humanity still suffers. His own disciple turned Him in to the Roman authorities. We recommend that Jesus not be reinstated as the Saviour of Man. Since his birth, the world has seen nothing but chaos.

Anonymous

You are one f^^ked up dude, you make no sense with your comparison to Jesus. You should compare her to Satan, you will see the similarities.

Anonymous

Matt has no honor. He won't admit he was wrong no matter what. There is more to this than meets the eye!!!

Anonymous

THAT'S SAND-DOUCHE-SKY. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? SCUM RUN THE CITY THAT'S INHABITED BY THE SAME.

Anonymous

Amen Matt! I am thrilled that I have spotted a chink in the armor downtown.
Everything in the whisper campaign is in the report, as planned and expected, except the criminal charges that were pending.

It appears that the city's procedure of destroying all agents of change is getting a little lax.

This is actually a great sign. With the last couple of destroy campaigns, there were no loose ends hanging around.

Eventually the staff at city hall will make even a bigger mistake, and we can start to rebuild.

Anonymous

Time to cancel my subscription. I know several others are going to. After this very biased reporting and now refusing to admit he was wrong. I refuse to put more money in Matt's pocket. And I will be contacting the companies that advertise in this paper and on this web site.

Anonymous

Hoopla and hearsay? Really? Do you even know what hearsay is. Its usually a third party issue. I gave my statement, and I can assure you it wasn't hearsay. ti wasn't anything that I heard from someone else. It wasn't anything that somone put me up to. Those of us who stood up and brought things to light, dealt with it for far too long. It's true and I feel sorry for you that you can't see past the end of your nose.
For all of you out there who question my and my co-workers integrity in the matter, POUND SALT. I have given nearly 19 years of my life and soul to the SPD. But yet you monday night quarter backs can tell me I'm a liar and not feel bad about it. You have no relationship (work/personal) with Ms. Nuesse but yet you can find her at fault for nothing. Well thank you very much. I'll keep that in mind the next time you call 911 because your residence is being broken into, when you or a family memeber is being victimized, when you or one of your family members needs CPR or immediate first aid until SFD can arrive, or better yet one one of your children just wants to talk with a Police Officer. NO sorry I can't do that because I have pride and I am dedicated to my profession. So all of you Police haters out there remember this: I bleed red just like you but most of you won't put your live on the line to save or protect another.

As for as for Mr. Westerhold...........LOSER.....and I too am still waiting for an apology for bring up Ms. Nuesse on a day we were to be remembering our fallen soldiers. Again, LOSER

Anonymous

Sounds to me like you are the "scum". Grow up!

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