Brown gets kudos for flubbing police chief search

Matt Westerhold
Nov 16, 2012

The Sandusky city commission police chief search committee ignored city charter requirements during its selection process and recommended three candidates for the job who could not lawfully be appointed.

Led by commissioner Pervis Brown Jr., the committee spent $18,000 over seven months reviewing dozens of applications, discarding resumes from all local candidates except one.

Although it's been four years since the police department had a permanent leader, the committee pushed back its target date for the selection to February after missing its October 2012 goal. Brown agreed last month to re-start the search. 

"I think Mr. Brown did a great job," commissioner Jeff Smith told his colleagues during a commission meeting on Tuesday, suggesting the Register had not accurately reported information. "The search isn't being redone. They are looking for more people."

Smith did not elaborate on specifically what was inaccurate, but he did make clear later he did not like the way the story was reported. The story published in the Oct. 24 daily Register. The headline story posted online included a link to the entire six-page lawyer's report detailing the charter violations that occurred.

"Nothing was 'flubbed,' Ouriel," Smith wrote Register reporter Andy Ouriel in an email exchange Wednesday. "Just do your job, report the whole story and don't cherry pick from the facts! Like I said last night, six pages, and you report on three paragraghs?" 

Selecting a new chief is an important decision, and by the standards Smith suggests, a great job is the same as a botched job. There's no difference between the two. But a potato is still a potato, even if someone mistakenly calls it a tomato.

It's worth noting the “drug czar commissioner" never said he wanted to be the “drug czar commissioner.” This is how what Smith said in January was reported by the Register: “I want to be known as the drug (fighting) commissioner. I will be to the city's drug problem what Dave Waddington was to Lions Park.”



"you know what this sounds like"?
"No, what"?

Sounds to me like the powers that be (i.e Sandusky Register) are trying to grind an axe against Mr. Smith at every turn of the agenda.

"Isn't that surprising"?
"Well no, no it isn't".
Thanks for reading this weeks: "What did Mr. Smith do now to piss-off the SR".....tune in next week.


One can blame the voters for the quality of the elected officials, but in this case, the losers weren't any better.

On balance, this Commission isn't lacking in ability, they are simply not performing anywhere near their potential.

City Hall is disfunctional, and something needs to change. Not necessarily the people; that's not feasible in the short run, anyway.

The disfunctionality is rooted in timid leadership, but this community has shown a pattern of hammering down strong leaders the first time someone doesn't like something. So it's probably the oligarchs (for lack of a better term for people of influence here,) the media, and the rumor-mongering blabbermouths who are mostly to blame. Maybe the problem is that our oligarchs ain't that bright.

There are many able people who would be willing to serve if it weren't for the abuse, not to mention the low pay.

"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy."
-- Woodrow Wilson

"Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all."
-- John F. Kennedy

"Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."
-- George Bernard Shaw

"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people."
-- Oscar Wilde


Matt Westerhold using the SR to attack someone...shocking!? haha not


To be fair, this was an opinion piece.

I find it annoying when "news" reporting is short on facts and long on conclusions and opinions.


What is behind the delay to pick a Police Chief? How much you want to bet that come February, we still won't have a Police Chief? Let's just put an ad out saying that for the next couple of years we are going to take in applications until something interesting comes in and then we will decide. In the meantime, contract Lang on for another year because it will take that long to get the selection completed. Better yet, let's just wait until Orzeck has completed his college education and then hire him on. The ordeal is shear agony.


There's ample evidence that The Register has an anti-City and anti-police department agenda. That being said, and regardless of Smith's protestations, there's absolutely ZERO doubt that the search for a new chief was botched. In fact, the word "botched" is inadequate to convey the gravity of the mistakes that were made!

Forget good intentions (I'm assuming there were at least some). Forget $18,000 (okay, maybe not, but you see the point). Never mind the wasted months, the additional studies and reviews, and the fact we STILL don't have a police chief. All you need to do is look at the simple fact that all of the time and effort resulted in the recommendation of candidates who are prohibited BY CITY CHARTER, for pity's sake, from being hired! It's painfully clear that the entire process was an exercise in futility at best.

Do I personally know the ins and outs of the City Charter regarding this specific issue? No. But nobody charged me with vetting applicants for a new chief of police, either! Those who were so charged ought to at least have had SOME clue what the he11 they were doing! They didn't.

Some of you probably have an idea of just how painful it is for me to say this, but: The Register and Matt Westerhold are right. THIS time, anyway...


Your right, Sam, that had to hurt! But, I agree. The city charter is pretty clear on selection crieteria. (OUCH!)


You can always tell who the SR does not like.




It all boils down to the quality of the candidates running for the commission.


It's obvious that certain members of the commission are trying to deflect the issue by attacking the paper for reporting the facts. Mr. Brown is not an unbiased leader in this search. He should've stepped down. I don't think the city commission is willing to take the necessary steps to get the PD back on track and that means picking a leader and let that person run the dept. By the way, Ard is doing her best rendition of Where's Waldo


I agree with your assessment of Ard, but not completely with the commissioners. I truly believe that there are two or three who truly care but it is hard to work with a divided loyalty like this. This whole mess started with whinning and it will end the same way no matter WHO is picked. That is a simple fact that just makes many people sick to their stomachs in this city. The department needs a leader NOW, not 5 years from now.

Ard should have taken charge when this mess started. Why she hasn't done her job so far puzzles many of us out here and leaves us wondering why she hasn't stepped in to do her job. Many a city manager would have done just that...taken over and done the job. You have a keen eye and mind for what is obviously going on here. Where's Waldo is right. Makes many of us wonder why the obvious isn't done more than once?

Julie R.

I hope Kim Nuesse is keeping up on the news in Sandusky.


I couldn't agree more, Julie. What a mockery this has all been. It makes what happened to her look more and more like the witch hunt it really was, does it not??? This has been just one terrible thing after another with more drama than necessary all because someone didn't get their way! How sad for this city and how awful that it still remains the same: what some people want, they get because they cry and cry.


""I think Mr. Brown did a great job," commissioner Jeff Smith told his colleagues during a commission meeting on Tuesday, suggesting the Register had not accurately reported information. "The search isn't being redone. They are looking for more people."" <<< from the article

Mr. Smith doesn't seem to know when to keep quiet. It is definitely debatable whether Mr. Brown did a great job. It's pretty clear that he didn't read the Charter's requirements for finding a new police chief. The language in the Charter isn't so complicated that it needed to be interpreted by Mr. Iceman. It if was then Mr. Brown should have asked.

T. A. Schwanger

My concern Smith hasn't read read or does not understand the Charter requirements for selecting a new Police Chief


When you are in a position to write an OPINION in a newspaper, you have a huge advantage. People have a tendency to believe the printed word no matter what. That is an awesome responsibility and a powerful tool to have. Even an "opinion" can be taken to heart and be believed to be FACT when it is stated as just an opinion.

Perhaps it would be good for even the SR to remember that Smith was stating an "opinion" of a collegues work during his statement. Whether he is right or wrong, it is HIS opinion.

This entire police chief search has been a farce and botch up from day one because even our trained and depended upon legal mind apparently doesn't understand the meaning of the word in the city charter enough to INSTRUCT the very people on the committee to select the chief of police. What a shame.

This has taken far too long. Should they start over? Should they scrap it and forget the whole thing? Should they just wait for Orezch as stated? Who knows? At this point, who even cares any more? They might just as well wait for him. It seems unimportant any more.

But whatever the outcome, it does appear that Mr. Westerhold has a problem with Mr. Smith....a big one. And it is evident that the police department has always been a target of his, it is very unfortunate that his "opinions" would be aimed at one person who defends another and that he would resort to using the "pen" to take a shot at one person, when he doesn't like others doing it on this site.

Come, now, Mr. Westerhold. It is one thing to defend your reporters who, for the most part, do a pretty good job. It is entirely another to use your paper to attack two things for the sake of attack

While some may agree it brings out controversy and sells papers others may say you are getting a bit touchy about something, are you not?

T. A. Schwanger

Wiredmama:::: ""This entire police chief search has been a farce and botch up from day one""...""Should they just wait for Orezch as stated?""

What has made you change to admit the search was botched and wait for John Orezch rather than hire him now? Wait for what?


Its pretty obvious that the commissioners are being stimmed into agreeing to wait for Orezech or chosing him, isn't it? Isn't that the entire idea? If not, why hasn't this committee come up with any names to submit as yet? It is just more of the same old same old that goes on in this city.

I am truly disqusted by the workings and complaints of Cole and Poole to have brought this to this point. Had it not been for them, I truly believe we would have had a police chief named by now and this would be over. Instead, this is just at a total standstill and for ONE reason name one person or perhaps to get two to the table. Until the two of them see a name they will like on that list that suits THEM, it won't be accepted. It seems to me that is the hold up, isn't it? It was the last time, it probably is again. How many actual NEW applicants have applied since their complaints were issued? How many from "Perkins"?

If it is none, then why did they complain, because that was the "big beef" from the two of them. I would love to know the truth on that one. Ms Cole and Mr Poole were so specific on that, Ms Cole INSISTED they leave the ad open to allow for it. I would love to know how many applied from there?

How many people on that committee want to hire ONLY from within the city or department and won't accept anything BUT that? You know what that means? So just name them and get it over with. This is getting ridiculous. Are we just going to sit here for the rest of our lives in limbo waiting?

The truth is, its all a farce. Nothing is getting done because some believe there is no hurry. That all is just fine as is, no need to rush.

If that is the case, be honest and tell the truth. State it, get it over with and tell the public there isn't go to be a new chief, you have one and that is it.

car 54

I agree with most of the comments. This search has many unique characteristics, but Commissioner Brown needs to educate himself on the charter.


And why didn't Mr Icsman do that for this committee already??? Is that not his JOB?????? Why do we bother to pay the city attorneys if they cannot do their jobs when they are needed the most? Especially with something like this?


The Register editor has certainly favored one commissioner in how the coverage is slanted.

And most of the informed public would probably rank that person's job performance as deplorable.


They shouldn't allow the same committee to try again. If they can't get it together the first time what makes them think they can be successful the second time around. We will get the same results.


Then perhaps YOU should volunteer to take over and be on that committee! Why wait? Do it now so they can get this over with. But do us all a favor. Read and re-read that charter before hand and do the background checks yourself BEFORE putting someone on the potentials list, please.


maybe the city charter needs new wording stating that in order to be a commissioner you must have at least a masters degree in business. that way at least the commissioners are educated?


I would agree that city commissioners should have SOME form of training to at least consider running for a position that means they run a city. It would stand to reason that if you want to run something so important, you should at least be able to understand the inner workings of a government. I wonder how many of these people really understand even THAT much? Sometimes it appears they don't get that either, so I doubt that a masters in business would help them at all. It just isn't the same thing.


I say we only let people with a PHD to narrow down our search of a police chief. hey here is a suggestion let the chiefs position be an elected one. let the people decide in sandumpy


New qualification for city commissioners Be uneducated and you must be on assistance .that way you can say that you are actually a government employee since that what is technically is. Since you are actually being paid to stay at home


The problem with the city commissioners is that most of them don't seem to have an assigned "job" within the commission such as one working on only fire, one on police, one on parks, one on streets, etc. If they would just take a "section" of the city to work on and do that ONE job instead of trying to do everything at once, perhaps something would get done around here. Instead what you have is everyone doing a criss-cross of jobs and interfering in the others work all the time. You have six people who haven't a CLUE as to what they are supposed to be doing and no one really leading them at all. (no offense meant to Mr Hamilton but it seems to be true). What should be happening is someone with a firm hand leading this mess by doing seome serious assigning of work.

Why, when they "elect" the ex-officio mayor, does that person not do some serious assigning of work to each commissioner by what they might like to do and let that person do the LEADING in that area? It seems they all want to be chiefs, but no one wants to the be indians around here. If you give them specific assignments on departments, at least the commissioners would be responsible for their "departments", stick to that department and be responsible for leading their departments at each and every meeting. When something comes up, the city knows who to see, who to work with and....if need be....who to blame (ha ha), if it goes wrong. At least you won't this overlap of one commissioner sticking his or her nose in the others work and MAYBE something would get done for once.

As for this chief now, I would have thought Ms Ard, as the City Manager, would have stepped in and taken over. In the end, is it not HER job to make the final decision??????? Why has she not put and end to this mess and said enough already? I don't get that?!!! She really should put her foot down. It is her job to do so.


Yes, it's Ard's responsibility to make the final decision. Unfortunately, she's stuck with choosing from a couple of names given her by a Commission Committee. In this instance, none of those names was any good because of the botched selections involved.

To save time and money, why not just go through all of the resumes already received one more time? Let somebody who actually knows anything about the City Charter weed them out into stacks of "qualified" and "not qualified." Give the entire pile of "qualified" resumes to Ard, and let her do what she should have been doing in the first place.

NOTE: I'm not criticizing Ard here for "not doing her job." She was never given the OPPORTUNITY to do her job. While I completely understand (and frankly agree) with the "Where's Waldo?" comment, I think it's also only fair to Ard to note that we've got a long history of Commissions running roughshod over Managers, and of those same Commissions FIRING those Managers who actually managed. She may have been hired in part because she'd allow the Commission to run things (badly); or she may fear being fired if she doesn't. Either way, nobody here is serving the City particularly well!