Sandusky commissioners should try to get along

Jun 9, 2013

This editorial is not meant to be an attack on any city commissioners. Rather it is a plea for effectiveness. 

Each of the seven ran for a commission seat for the same reason — because they thought they could make a difference. 

During their tenures, each has spearheaded or acted as backup on projects that have fostered positive change. Still the commission is often at odds. Their scattered agendas and harsh words for each other have hogtied the Seven. It has caused them to act independently in a way that locks out the exchange of ideas needed for advancement. The focus on city improvement has been lost in a jumble of hurtful accusations among them. 

The Huron Park mini-project deemed too expensive on Monday was completed with little fanfare on Tuesday. (Click this link to read related article.) 

The offer by the county to use the building at Columbus Avenue and West Washington Row for a new city building died for lack of response. No public discussion, pro or con; no "Let's see what we can work out"; no "Thanks, but no thanks." (Click here to read related article.)


The residents of Sandusky have come to expect nothing from City Manager Nicole Ard, but commissioners as a group are her superiors. "As a group" are the key words in the above sentence. While no commissioner should try to coerce or bully Ard into making changes, "as a group" they could guide her to effectiveness. (Click here for related article.)

Instead, criticism by the newspaper or the public in general of Ard's accomplishments — or lack thereof — is looked upon as attacks. So rather than working on being a cohesive unit for the betterment of the community, certain commission members and Ard herself prefer to stonewall the newspaper. By perceiving the media as the bad guys, they seek to draw attention from Ard's shortcomings. 

One commissioner has even chosen to keep the public informed of his version of commission news via Facebook. Certainly, he has that right. It's called freedom of expression. Newspapers use it every day. 

Ard and all the commissioners should put aside their differences and try being straight shooters instead of constantly shooting the messenger. 

In the words of Rodney King, a man whose life was altered by divisiveness, "Can't we all just get along?" (Click here for a video.)



The reason why this newspaper is "stonewalled" is because you NEVER provide the COMPLETE truth! I have seen MANY emails sent to your paper that have been picked apart and only shown out of context! I wouldn't give you any information either if I expected it to be in FULL and VERBATUM!! The Sandusky Register has proven itself over and over not to be trustworthy when it comes to the truth! This is only another egregious attack on politics itself. Friends of the Register aand it's employees are THRILLED with their reports...but the rest of us know the difference! It's about time to take a stand and make this "newspaper" accountable for EVERYTHING they publish!! They are NEVER going to get information that is reliable anymore from importance until they quit cutting and pasting! Then maybe ALL police reports and evidence and issues will appear?!


No worse than the Perkins Superintendent and the Board.


This is not ment to be a bash on anybody, but a cry for help. Please work together. The commissioners need to work together and know the differance between Needs and Wants when spending money. Needs are working sewers.a water plant.police, fire and kept up buildings and grounds. Wants are more play equipment in parks,fountains, splashpads,and lights shinning on a parkbench. I am sorry I feel like this but when you are strapped for money this is how you have to run your house. When it is Winter and your furnace is not working do you spend your last dollar on a new one , or a big TV? P.S. If you pick the big TV barrow a blanket.


I checked on all the City Commissioner Facebook Pages.

Funny. The one found using Facebook to keep the public informed is doing what he and his followers accuse the Register of doing.....telling half the story. $16,000,000 City budget??? Really? The Register ran a story not long ago there is another $67,000,000 budget called debt no one wants to discuss.

Oh and he can predict future news stories as well. Business people don't necessarily make the best government decision makers.

Brick Hamland

Cut down to 5, common sense says it would be easier to get 5 moving in one direction than 7. 7 is a lot of opinions and seems to be difficult for everyone to be interested in the same topics/agenda. I serve on several boards- the more people.on the board the longer the meetings bc everyone wants to be heard. More.isnt always better or necessarily more effective.
As an aside- i was interviewed by a register reporter a few years back. The next day i read the article and it was completely inaccurate and what i was quoted as saying wasnt even close to what i had said. I think that reporter is no longer with the paper, but it was clear the reporter wasnt familiar with the topic/process he was reporting on and didnt understand my responses.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the comment Brick Hamland. Please call me at 419-609-5866 to review your concerns in more detail and publish a correction if one is warranted. 

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I have attended just about every meeting since December and it has been an experience that I think many more Sanduskians should try. Not just one or two sporadic meetings, but several in a row. I came into them a blank slate as I honestly couldn't tell you the officials' names before then or even if I voted for them. I felt frustrated after this last election cycle and decided enough was enough. The best way to actually "get things done" (using that broadly as I didn't have a city agenda at the time) was to participate. Not from the sidelines but knee-deep.

In my time I have gotten to know just about everyone on at least an acquaintance level and have observed their different personalities. I read their background bios and use that to try and figure out their decisions as each of them is really from a different set of experiences. I compare that to what goes on every two weeks and it is interesting. It isn't intrigue, deception, and war among the "powerful few" like in Game of Thrones, but there are certainly differences of opinions. Whether or not I agree with a decision or opinion, I respect the fact that I can't remember in the time I've gone one of the meetings rejecting an idea without a reason. I can't recall a flat "no" with no explanation, thinking, or alternative suggested.

That I like even if the decision or reason isn't how I'd have voted if I was behind the desk. Regarding the newspaper...

December was about the time I really started reading the newspaper and when it came to where it intersected with city business, explore the similarities and differences from the meetings. Again, if I wanted to (generically) "change" anything I had to understand it first. So I approached Mr. Westerhold about a blog and I was granted the opportunity to write. As he can pull my plug anytime he wishes, I would take his ultimate approval of my entries as appropriate to share whether or not he agrees with the content personally.

While I say this perhaps selfishly, I'd like to think that I am upbeat, helpful, and am at least being used as such a positive tool by the paper to not always favor publishing negative things.

I don't always feel sunshiney about the city, nor do I about the paper, there is something good that I always take away. It is that I as a citizen have engaged both private and public entity alike and have had the opportunity opened to listen, speak my mind, and continue to try and improve the lives of others in the area.

I don't have a doctorate, I don't have a million dollars. But I do have passion, just as the others do on either side of the "battle line" that can sometimes be Columbus Ave. Passion is a tempestuous emotion and source of energy, but I don't think you could hope to find a better fuel for those in charge of the city directly through government or indirectly through dissemination of information.

Matt Easterhold

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

Matt Easterhold

If you can't manage your own life how you could manage as a commissioner.

sandtown born a...

That hit the nail on the head. Collect assistance with no worked for income, then tell the public how the city and its finances need to be taken care of. NOW THATS FUNNY Like having the x bank robber be a bank guard WOW we are all holding out hope for our great city

Julie R.

I've watched some of the Sandusky city commissioner meetings on TV and have starting back when Kim Nuesse was on board. The amnosity I saw shown toward Nuesse by some of the commissioners was not only obvious, it was juvenile. I also noticed more than once the total lack of respect (very unprofessional) toward one of the Register's reporters. Judging from some of these comments the amnosity toward Diedre Cole now is also obvious.

My opinion --- if Cole didn't care about the city of Sandusky she wouldn't be sitting there so who really cares if she's on government assistance?

sandtown born a...

Personally I can't see someone who can't get herself out of the hole of state assisted income, being qualified to handle the city problems with finances


Anyone who cares about the social contract that holds individuals responsible for justifying the resources they consume.

Matt Easterhold

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

Julie R.

What kind of "free stuff" does one get as city commissioner? Whatever it may be, I'm sure it would never even come close to the "free stuff" that county public officials get. (one example alone, getting $200K in back taxes forgiven)

As for Cole worrying about finding more ways to get well-paying jobs to this area ...... what about the county commissioners? What are they doing? As I recall, they never made any effort to prevent the well-paying jobs from leaving this area to begin with.


getting someone to run for a thankless task is difficult. Second, would be common sense and an education


I agree westerhold but the register is the same as all newspapers and media outlets it is a buisness and a lot if times the media is more worried about creating news and entertainment for sales and viewers than what is actually the news supported with evidence. The Sandusky Register tends to be biased and one sided when it comes to certain local issues.

Forward Looking

Still think that the Register sensationalizes many things and is half the problem. Why do you think some City Leaders have refused to comment or respond? Because when they do, their words are spun to fit the agenda of the Register. We need more successful business persons to step up and run for commission, who know how to work together with others.

How many of the current commission attended the local officials training at BGSU?

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the comment Forward Looking.  Would it be possible for you to cite some examples. Vague and broad statements do not provide and opportunity for a review. Please feel free to call me at 419-609-5866 if you have some specific concerns and can provide detail as to what they might be.



That's YOUR job. Interviews and statements are voluntary transactions, into which officials have every motivation to enter IF they believe their words will be accurately reported in meaningful context. Apparently officials don't believe that, so, as a businessman, Matt, it's YOUR job to figure out how your organization has lost their trust and what you need to do to regain it. You've said things in the past that indicate you understand how to entice your information consumers to do business with you, now you need to figure out how to get your information vendors to see a value proposition.

J. Hartman

Look my comments won't win any awards or be greeted with a standing ovation once I end, but these are only my thoughts and heartfelt feelings on what I observe. First off, I did not read the previous 40+ comments, so I apologize if I repeat something that has already been said. I think when we say others need to communicate better, we should really be addressing the entire community! When I say that, I mean there are way too many personal agendas, too many my way is the right way, too many egos, too many "I will show you", and WWAAYYY too much talk over formats such as this instead of face to face like men/women!! I see folks writing articles and then use a fictitious screen name to stir the pot when someone says something against their position. If you have an issue, TAKE ACTION!!! Words with a fake name and talking tough does what??????? The answer is NOTHING! Be a man or woman and step up if you are better equipped or more knowledgeable to do something than what someone currently is! At least respect the fact that he or she is making a honest effort to make OUR community a better place for all of us! When will people learn, that the division that takes place here is the reason behind most of our shortcomings? Will you agree on everything? Definitely not and nor should one expect that. I could be wrong, but I don't believe anyone who comments on here is still in high school? So why act like we are? Believe it or not, sometimes by being wrong, you are actually right! My point is, grow up!! I deal with plenty of people I wouldn't be caught dead holding their hand at the mall during Christmas time with. However, even though I don't agree 100% on what they do or say, I'm man enough to know in order for things to work around here I have to find a way to work not only with them, but right beside them and be open to compromise!! So, it's not just the city commissioners that this article should be aimed at. It should be aimed at each and everyone of us! Yes Matt(Register) that includes you and your staff as well! No need to go on the defense when someone speaks against you or doesn't agree with you opinion, but I would encourage a little more follow up or investigating before printing a story that doesn't have all the facts or only has one side of a story. None of us are perfect and once we understand that as fact, just maybe the COMMUNICATION will improve!! A great start would be to only allow ACTUAL names of ACTUAL people to post any comments! These are just my honest thoughts, if you disagree, then say so with an ACTUAL name. At least then our line of communication will be off to a positive start! S.M.I.L.E.