Cole right about flawed police chief search

Matt Westerhold
Sep 30, 2012


It appears the concerns raised about the Sandusky city commission's police chief search committee were on target and commissioners likely will find themselves in a quandary as the October deadline for hiring a chief approaches. City manager Nicole Ard also might have a tough time following the city charter through and making a hire if problems with the process are not addressed. 

City commissioner Diedre Cole took the heat after she questioned the search process and commissioner Pervis Brown Jr. leadership of the committee during a commission meeting Aug. 13. Brown fired back at Cole, declaring the search committee he headed up followed the letter of the law. (Hit this link to see video of the meeting and a previous story on this topic.)
"If you're not comfortable with the process, change the charter," Brown snapped back at Cole during a commission meeting Aug. 13, calling her inquiry "reprehensible." 
Commissioner Jeff Smith piled on during the exchange, accusing Cole of ulterior motives as if he were a prosecuting attorney rather than her colleague on commission.
Since then, however, Brown asked for an investigation of the search process and that probe is currently underway.  
Several of the finalists for the chief's job might not be qualified based on the charter's requirements. The city has spent more than $20,000 already on the search and it might need to be sent back for further review before a list of three potential chiefs can be forwarded to Ard for a decision.  
It's been more than four years since the Sandusky Police Department had a permanent police chief. Given the department's troubled history, this is too important a decision to be made lightly. Cole was right to raise her concerns publicly despite the discomfort it caused. Smith would be wise to drop the prosecutorial stance and he and the other commissioners would be wise to carefully consider any concerns when the lawyer's report on the investigation Brown requested is finished up.  
Unfortunately, the clarity needed might not come from that report. The track record for private attorneys doing government investigations is not a good one unless success is measured by the size of the invoice. Look no further than the $60,000 Huron Schools report on an investigation of its superintendent; the chausee rental homes probe the city ordered; and of course, the $22,000 Murman report that led to ouster of the last permanent SPD police chief.
Hiring a new city police chief has been a slow and difficult process. But this is one decision the city needs to get right.




Find Greg Majoy and beg him to be chief.

AJ Oliver

Does one of the Police Chief candidates have a degree from a diploma mill? If so, Ms. Cole is absolutely right to call the committee out on the whole process.
And hey y'all, if you're gonna beat up on someone, at least man/woman up and use your own name.
Lets all try to get these Reg blogs somewhere beyond the Jr. High level, OK?

car 54

I'm most disappointed in Mr. Smith's comment. Let's try and be more profesional, Mr. Smith at the table.


Mr. Smith's reply was not as bad as what the SR was saying. He was professional. He brought up what Ms Cole said to him about her wanting to get rid of Mr. Lang and make Al Mathew's the new chief of police. To which Ms Cole said in a loud voice, "you are a liar". Then Mr. Hamilton said she told him the same thing and she said to Mr. Hamilton, "you're a liar, too". So I wouldn't be too quick to judge those two guys over Ms Cole if I were you.

We were at that meeting, sitting next to Mr Schwanger and he looked rather surprised himself. In fact, almost everyone in the room did. Ms Cole has a big problem right now. Who are we to believe? Three people she said she wanted to give Al Mathews the job of Chief of Police or her? Right now, I don't believe a word she says. She changes her stories a bit too much. I listened to her on BTL, and her story changed radically on that from the day of that council meeting. Too many discrepancies. (and professional has two s's in it- lol)


why is that, sir?


$20,000.00 for a "search" so far? I am starting a "search" company. Go over resumes, run some internet searches, do a few off the record interviews with the people they have worked with, and finally interview candidates... $20,000.00? I am sure I will make a nice net profit...


want a partner....between us we could do 20 or so a day!

Julie R.

I agree with the city on the probe into the chausee rental properties. In fact, why not do a title search on some of those properties? I'm willing to gamble that a good portion of them on Cedar Point Road --- and even a couple on Curran Street --- were involved in FRAUD. It's why your joke Erie County courts ruled in their favor to keep them as rental properties.


True, Julie. Around here, too


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.


Sounds to me like the ONLY voice of reason on the entire commission, is Jeff Smith, Cole needs to be put in her place, because her place, being someone who can not manage finances in her own life (welfare for 20+ years) and now having at least some control over how the city spends the tax dollars of those who actually work and pay taxes. I still am trying to figure out what kind of a vendetta the SR has against the SPD....Matt Westerhold can not try and pile things on top them anymore than he does. What, I wonder, is his problem with the police department?? Jealousy?? Envy?? Frustration of EVERY kind...either way between the City Commission and the SR, Sandusky will only get worse......


The problem with Ms Cole is her promises that she cannot keep. Mr Smith did nothing wrong and his characterization in this by the SR is unfair. He and Mr Hamilton brought up about Ms Cole's conversations with Ms Cole and her reference to firing Mr Lang and putting Al Mathew's in as chief of Police. She called them both liars. Now that is wrong....but she got caught in lies and tried to buck her way out of it. This is the only reason this is all being disputed. Because of Al Mathews. She promised something she couldn't produce and she is mad as heck over it.
Smith did nothing wrong. Yet he is getting slammed by Westerhold who wasn't even THERE that day. Oh, granted, he watched a tape or listened to it. But Smith did not come across like some prosecutor at all. Far from it. Cole needed to get hit with the reality of it all as you say. And then some.


The headline reads "Cole right about flawed Police Search' but nowhere in this article does it say HOW she is right or by what means does it show she is right. I would say that the headline does not meet the standard of the content of the article at all. Perhaps Mr Westerhold would be so kind as to point out EXACTLY where in the article that bit of information is?

Seriously, if Ms. Cole is right about the flawed nature of this committee's choices, where is the information in this article that shows that other than it will be costly to do the investigation? That was a foregone conclusion before it ever was brought up.

The other point left out was why did Ms Cole not speak up until she found that her "favorite" didn't make the final five cut? I say she had plenty of time to represent her problems LONG before that time, but failed to. Until she saw her favorite person didn't make the final five cut, she kept silent.

So there was more to this complaint than mere "oh, we have a problem with the charter". No, it was that Al Mathews of Perkins didn't make it to the final five and Ms. Cole got herself all upset. Most people know that is the truth of the matter.

So I don't see any of that in this article, nor do I see anything that shows what has been brought to light be any investigation of the decision making process.

What puzzles me as well is that Mr Icsman also said the committee followed the rules of the charter. Why is that now in question? Are we to assume that he does not know what the charter says, despite the fact that he READ it at that meeting?

No, it seems to me that Ms Cole AND Mr Poole brought this up at this meeting stating they got "phone calls from Perkins" only because of Al Mathews and nothing more.

If anyone is to blame for this hold up of hiring a new chief, or causing more money to be spent, it is the two of them. Do not blame Smith or any other person on the Commission. When all is said and done and if it is found that there is no wrong doing by the committee researching for a new police chief, I wonder what will happen then? Will the SR retract this so called "headline" and print an apologetic letter or will it just ignore it and move on as if nothing was said?

I, for one, would like to see Ms Cole step down. She started this mess. She should be held accountable for her actions. Personal preference plays no part in public service. It should not be the criteria in which you govern. I guess she does not realize that. I listened to how she backtracked on BTL. It was shameful. In fact, this whole matter is.


wiredmama--Thank you, my feelings all along. This Cole lady is out of control!! When she doesn't get HER WAY, she whines. Just like not getting that next Gov't benefit on time and blame the taxpayers !! SICK !!


Thanks and YES! And this time she is costing US!!!!!!


1. How is cole even a commissioner shes on welfare which means she clearly cant care for herself much less a city. 2. Jeff smith seems quite intelligent to me


well said. I have often wondered about that myself. How is it that she gets benefits and welfare but collects from the city for a seat?
And I consider Jeff Smith to be quite intelligent as well.


Jeff Smith acted professionally when he revealed Ms. Cole's attempt to abuse the process to hire her favored candidate. Mr. Hamilton backed up Mr. Smith's information.

As President Clinton said.... "it takes a lot of brass to criticize someone for doing what you did !"

Ms. Cole has a lot of brass.


Next...No one cares about what Mrs. Cole thinks...Everyone sees through her... The only way she would be good as a commissioner is if she could figure out a way to have other cities pay for the needs of Sandusky (for a long period of time)... She's good at that!


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


Mama. Thank you for 'reporting' the FACTS. Well done.


This is another mess the city has gotten themselves into. The whole thing wasn't handled right. Before the final six were finalized, the applicants should have been vetted and backgrounds properly checked. Where is Human Resources when all this is going on? Do we have anyone capable of making decisions at City Hall without wasting a whole lot of taxpayers' monies? We are going to be lucky if we have a Chief selected by the end of the year.


Probably not now that this is going on. None of this would have happened had Ms Cole and Mr Poole not rocked he boat for this nonesense.
Truth be told, it is nonsense. I believe Mr. Icsman's assessment of the situation. After all, that is what we pay him for.


Most of the people on this blog are more upset about Cole than the issue. If the committee is not going to follow the charter why have one. In my opinion Sandusky doesn't deserve Al Matthews. He would straighten out the police department but that is just what certain people are afraid of. Sandusky will never get their s**t together. That is just an opinion though. The issue is the committee didn't follow the charter.


Most of the people on this blog are more upset about Cole than the issue. If the committee is not going to follow the charter why have one. In my opinion Sandusky doesn't deserve Al Matthews. He would straighten out the police department but that is just what certain people are afraid of. Sandusky will never get their s**t together. That is just an opinion though. The issue is the committee didn't follow the charter.


Lt Matthews is getting toward retirement. We would be right back where we started, looking again for another chief. That is exactly what we wanted to avoid in Sandusky. Whether Mr. Mathews was qualified or not, his closeness to retirement would have been a factor against him. This city does not need to go looking for another chief within four to five years after going through this mess again and again. We would prefer a break.

I think any truly understanding person would get that. It isn't anything personal against Al Mathews at all.


The issue is the Charter, which Mr. Icsman read at that meeting and stated was met during the committee meetings and followed. Now if HE doesn't know the charter, who does? I don't understand why Ms Cole is right and he is wrong? He has the degree in law, not Ms Cole. The above articl doesn't state one thing about how she is right at all. If it does, show us. As for Mr. Brown, I still contend he deserves to be thanked for his work. Facts are facts and should be stated as such. You cannot change that by deleting posts.
The real contention here is that according to this article Ms Cole is right and the committee made an error. If that is true, then Mr. Icsman does not understand the charter. If that is the case, then why have him as law director?


It's very simple,the majority the commissioners aren't qualified to hold their positions, and you are correct, Sandusky will always be in the red for lack of leadership. One thing always comes to mind regardless of any issue we see fit to spend $150.00 per hr. for an outside law firm to make decisions for the city while Icsman just sits there and keeps his chair warm. Explain to me why we need a law director if he is either to remedial to make a legal decision, or afraid to. It has been written many times here in the Register that it is next to impossible to reach Ard. She was supposed to be so great as our city manager, yet I have yet to see ANYTHING she has done to move Sandusky in a positive direction. Secondly, Deidra Cole spends my money as well as the rest of the citizens of Sandusky, being she is in section 8 housing and who knows what other forms of entitlement. Myself and the rest of the citizens pick up her tab, then once again in the same breath have to pay for an outside law firm to make decisions for the city.I suppose when it doesn't come out of her pocket as usual there is less concern on what things cost! The answer is very simple, I would like to see a Mayor instead of 7 people that have 7 different ideas that would be tossed out at any first grade class. I also agree with wiredmama222, since the taxpayers have to pick up the law firms tab, when the findings are in, those that are at fault that were trying to further their own personal agenda SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THEIR POSITION. Sandusky cannot afford the 7 ring circus with Ard and Icsman as the ringmasters!!!

You state (find Greg Majoy and beg him to be chief). There was a reason Huron got rid of him and since it seems to be top secret he would have the same results when he ran for Erie County sheriff's office. Have him man up and explain WHY, and maybe he would be considered.


Yes, a mayor and council people that have directed jobs such as caring for the police, fire, finance, parks/recreation, roads, etc. They all report back to the mayor. This free for all is nuts. I agree with your totally on what you say, 007. Nice post.

Julie R.

That wasn't Greg Majoy that was the Huron police chief and ran for Erie County sheriff --- that was John Majoy. (I think they are brothers or maybe cousins) Greg Majoy is a retired sheriff's deputy and was also the commander of the now defunct Erie County Drug Task Force. I believe he now has some investigating company.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.


You deserve it Sandusky. You voted for these people and you will continue to do so.


How right you are. We just keep making the same mistakes again and again. That is because the insurmountable problems that these people make, the same people run and make them over and over again. Nothing moves forward. If someone ran that would move it forward we might make some progress but that just doesn't happen. People have always been afraid of Sandusky changing. Look what happened. The changes moved to Perkins. You cut us off at the neck. We got what we deserved because of the lack of forethought. We had it coming. This is what happens when you want to remain a "quiet little town" , where nothing changes and everything stays the same. You go the way of the dodo. Thirty years ago that may have been the right thing to think, not any more. And we are paying for it now. We got exactly what our fore fathers gave us....ghosts and nice parks. They didn't see it when Scott paper or Hinde and Duche left, or American Crayon closed. "Oh, we still have Ford and GM". So what? We had the chance to get Costco. They blew that one. There were others they let slip by. Why? They went to Perkins. Why let them go? To preserve what? The fishing off the piers? We need jobs, not more boats and condos.
We need to feed families, not walk the shorelines.
We need to have jobs here that pay more than minimum wage, not set up another park system to watch the trees change color. Who's minding the store down there at city hall?
I wish I knew? We need someone willing to go out and find the businesses that will come here and give us those kinds of things. That will fight for that sort of plan. Right now, we don't have it. I think those people must live in Perkins. I know one that lives here in Sandusky. Too bad we don't have HIM leading this town. He is just sitting here. He is willing to lead. I hope they tap into him. He would be great at it. He doesn't think with that "got to have access to the Lake" metality. He has the knowledge of a city planner and the mentality to do the job. He could do it. What a shame we don't have him doing the job right now, before we become a ghost town.