Commissioners turned blind eyes

Matt Westerhold
Oct 24, 2012


There was ample evidence several candidates selected by a city commission committee for the open police chief job did not meet the requirements of the city charter. Despite the obvious, five city commissioners turned a blind eye and voted to spend another $13,000 to assess the pool. The assessment came back and the assessors also turned a blind eye to the language of the law. The cost -- so far -- is topping $28,000, and the committee decided on Monday to re-start the search. 

City commissioner Diedre Cole hoped an attorney's report would vindicate her after her collegues pilloried her for raising concerns. Indeed, the report declares the committee's work dead on arrival, but the commissioners who voted to spend taxpayer money to continue the charade likely won't cut back the Cole smackdown. Ignoring the obvious and keeping difficult topics off the public radar are primary driving forces for five out of seven commissioners.

Commissioner Jeff Smith, an ardent defender of the search commitee and harsh critic of Cole's, and commissioners Julie Farrar, John Hamilton, Keith Grohe and Brown, it seems, were content with the problematic process that led to a diminished choice for the city's next top cop. They showed that with their vote to spend taxpayer dollars vetting candidates who could not be lawfully selected for the job.

Cole and commissioner Wes Poole both voted against the additional spending and attempted to reason with the majority coalition. 

It's ironic Smith, who wants to be the "drug czar" commissioner, told commissioners Monday he wants commission to form a new city committee to study violent crime and suggest solutions to problems. It might be better, less expensive and more simple, to just get the chief search committee back on track and select a leader for the police department. Smith would serve residents better if he stopped grandstanding and found a way to set aside his personal animosity for Cole and Poole.


car 54

What happened to the Conestoga program? How about Sandusky Proud? Neighborhood watches?


Boy, it isn't no secret on who the two favorites of Mattie are is it.

Julie R.

I agree with the article. Wouldn't it be a lot less expensive and more simple just to get the chief search committee back on track and select a permanent police chief instead of wasting money on a new committee to study violent crime and suggest solutions to the problems?

Common sense alone would say that!



Mr Westerhold seems to have a very real attitude concerning Commissioner Smith.

Personally, I think a committee concerning violence in the city would be worth while. It could be comprised of reps from the commission, residences, area civic leaders (school officials), and religious leaders. Ideas such as police substations, neighborhood watches, etc could be discussed.

I agree with Commissioner Smith.


T. A. Schwanger

The question for Smith is who are the "IMPORTANT PEOPLE" he intends to select for the committee?

$28,000 spent on a tainted from the start selection process. We should all be furious.


They are definataly a bunch losers I think it is open discrimination


Deidra Cole and Wes Poole started this entire process from a statement that began "I got a phone call from someone from Perkins who said that people from Perkins need not apply for the police chief position" (paraphrasing here) had NOTHING to do with the charter at all. That came later when Ms Cole was on BTL....wonder who coached her in the days following her outburst at the meeting? She was NOT happy about the committee selection of the final five, nor was Mr. Poole. And it SHOWED. She was called out. Days later a much calmer Ms Cole restated a very different complaint as we all know.

Now the SR is pushing Cole and Poole as the hero's of the hour. It was Mr. Brown who asked for the investigation to clear his smeared name...not Ms Cole or Mr Poole. They were the accusers yet no one seems to remember that.

Now the city has to pay another round of money for a restart...which actually isn't a restart but an extension of the same old same old. Will Ms Cole and Mr Poole be happy with THIS group of five if their candidate doesn't make the cut?? Only time will tell?

And those who took on Cole and Poole? Their fate? Oh, to be smacked down by the SR for doing anything else. No matter what it is. Namely Smith, Farrar, Hamilton, Grohe and Brown. But go in order please. Smith was the first to take on Cole, the first to bring up her background antics that were then verifyied at that meeting by Hamilton and then Farrar. Mr Grohe is guilty by association.

Smith is getting the axe because he has the audicty to speak, to move and to open his mouth. He would do well right now to say nothing more or to do nothing more than wait it out. Let sleeping dogs lie until the search is over and the chief is chosen. Let this get done and THEN move on whatever comes next.

The commissioners can do nothing but offer their services to that "suggestion book" for the police departmwent. That needs to come from the chief, not the commissioners. That is the chief's domain. His puppy.

The commissioners need to get busy finishing up whatever else they began this year and finalize it. Start nothing new for this year. Let it all go until after the first.

If they are wise they will until after January 1. Get a game plan together on what they plan for 2014. Instead of doing INDIVIDUAL jobs they best start thinking of what they can do as a GROUP.

No more loose cannons, no more inidividual planners....what to do as a GROUP. If not, then Hamilton as ex officio Mayor needs to take control and start leading. That's what the mayor does....Hamilton. LEAD.

Smith, while often optimistic and full of ideas, needs to dial it down a notch and play well with others. Be a team player not a single player.

Cole and Poole need to learn that lesson as well. They would do well to take a lesson from the same play book. In fact, they all would. It seems no one is minding the store over there. Where is the leader?