Does the city have a transparency problem or just a lack of communication?

Register
Aug 19, 2014
At the last city commission meeting, I asked if there was a verbal agreement to include Sandusky in a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the curbside program. The president told me there was a verbal agreement. Later in the same meeting, the city manager admitted he actually signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
 
According to the MOU (public document), it was signed two weeks ago, on July 30, with just the signature of the city manager. Up until now, nothing had been mentioned to the public about the curbside RFP. Much to everyone’s surprise, an MOU was signed and the commission didn’t bother to tell us about the action being taken. 
 
Usually, when the president of council signs off on agreements, it demonstrates the fact that deliberations were done publicly, with a majority of commissioners approving the action taken, so the president can apply his legal signature attesting to that fact.
 
Without the process in place, how else are the rest of the commissioners and the public to know what action was taken? The commissioners do the legislating and the city manager follows through with the instructions given to him by the commissioners — so when did the commissioners instruct the city manager to sign an MOU? 
 
It is discouraging to hear through other sources what is happening in the city. It could have been possible that curbside legislation would have been introduced at the end of the year and none of us would have known anything about what was developing. The contract, if accepted by the entities, is due to go into effect Jan. 16. 
 
In the same meeting, there was another MOU that did come before the commission for signoff, so why were the two MOUs treated differently with the two different signatures? It is difficult to understand if seven commissioners are directing the city manager or just a couple of commissioners are doing the instructing. The lack of deliberation before the public by all seven commissioners is disconcerting. How do the commissioners build trust when the commission does not keep us informed?
 
I think most people thought the recycle bins would solve the problem when the city entered into a five-year agreement with a hauler to manage the bins. By retaining the recycle bins, it keeps the county from pushing Sandusky into the curbside program.
 
I don’t think the recycle bins have been given a fair chance so problems can be worked out before looking at the curbside program. 
 
There is nothing wrong with the city exploring the advantages and disadvantages of curbside pickup in order to arrive at a decision that will benefit everyone concerned, but the public should be able to hear what our commissioners are saying about the subject and give the public ample time to discuss and respond.

Comments

IT'S ME

Blah blah blah blah blah......

JMOP

Sounds like Sandusky has a mayor that wanted the title, but is inept.

The Bizness

Same lady that complains about the current system, is already complaining about a proposed new system.....I am confused.

pavedparadise

The Farmer's Market had a vendor selling Rose Colored Glasses if you are interested.

The Bizness

Is everything ok with our city? No. Is complaining that she didn't hear about one MOU ridiculous? Yes.

Babo

I strongly disagree with you. If the City leaders are willing to ignore the law on entering into contracts regardless of size they are capable of more serious violations such as self dealing.

Also, any contract entered into in violation of the Open Meetings Act is void and can be set aside through a legal complaint. Thus, this is a very serious issue as it goes to the legitimacy of contracts entered into by the City.

The Bizness

Does an MOU have to be brought up in front of the public, I really am not sure, because it isn't truly a contract.

T. A. Schwanger

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@Babo

The problem we have with folks like The Bizness is he/she is more interested in bashing the writer than researching the subject.

With the MOU Recycling issue, the entire community is impacted hence the need for proper vetting of the issue in open forum. The loss of and lack of jobs, which The Bizness has complained of in the past, is a major issue. I personally recycle on my own, so why should I pay for a service I will not use?

The other issue is the lack of competition. I can't name one instance were all competition is eliminated and the price of service does not eventually skyrocket..

Suggestion to Bizness. Look past the writer and research the issue and form an opinion. Be part of the solution-not part of the problem. Same goes for "Answer Person".

The Bizness

By the way, in regards to the drug deal at shoreline park commnts, I don't think we should sell all parks, or privatize all parks, in fact I am a huge proponent of the paper district marina's current setup, and I also enjoy all of the cities parks. However, the old surfs up property should probably put up for sale if the city can not find a solution for its current state of disrepair. That is pretty much the only current city park, I wouldn't mind being handed over to someone else.

Licorice Schtick

The former "Surf's Up" which is now known as the Sandusky Bay Pavillion, has been coveted by multiple entities. Deliberate neglect leads to decrepitude and decay that provides a convenient excuse to sell. It has been managed in such a way to make it look forbidding and appear to be closed to the public, even though entry is permitted, for those who can could find the way in. Then it's claimed, "No one uses it." Foundation grants and volunteer labor have subverted the conspiracies, but they're relentless. The facility needs a solid plan for renovation, unencumbered by greedy selfish people.

pavedparadise

Spot on licorice

Babo

The identical willful neglect has occurred in Port Clinton with Waterworks Park, which is even more valuable even iconic lake front property . It's very sad so called leaders allow the very resources that make Sandusky and Port Clinton unique deteriorate so that their associates can steal the land at low prices. There hasn't been and there still is no long term vision by these cities' leaders. It's always what's in it for me and my few pals.

Julie R.

It's a transparency problem, Sharon, and if you think the city's bad, better hope you never have to deal with the unprofessional sneaky ones in the county.

gene44870

You all voted them into office . Now you are going to have to deal with the agendas as well as yhings being done without your input .
You want to have a say . Make it know at the polls this next election
..

The Answer Person

Sharon, WHY don't you get a new photo? That one is just dreadful!

God Of Thunder

First of all....I knew Julie would somehow take yet, another article, and turn it into her personal vendetta against her 'corrupt judges' and 'corrupt' prosecutor, who I am going to take a chance and assume it might be her brother??? She may prove me wrong on this, but Julie...Every time I read your comments, I find myself an hour later with my head on the keyboard after a long nap...To be blunt, you bore me and you need to go check yourself into the psyche ward.

Secondly Sharon, I reiterate my previous statement to you. One big whiner and one big do nothing about it..

And Sandusky Register.... Referring to a previous Mailbag question... Who picks your columnists????

just observing

Great comment, God Of Thunder, many readers agree with you on all three points.

Julie R.

God of Thunder: Duh, I'm afraid you lost me with the "brother" bit. I also really don't give a rat's hindquarters what you think of my comments. Don't like them, sweetheart, don't read them.

Once again, Sharon, if you think the public officials in the city of Sandusky are bad, better hope you never have to deal with those unprofessional nasty jokes in the county!

God Of Thunder

If I didn't see your personal vendetta comments on every article, all of which have nothing to do with your problem, but you continue to boo-hoo about it. For crying out loud, do us all a favor on here and get over your issues.

Every time you speak, you weaken the nation. Nitwit..

Babo

I disagree. It's comments like yours that belittle and demean women who object to alleged corrupt practices that weaken our Nation. Historically women tend to be the moral voices of our nation and some unlike men are not afraid to call out bad behavior. IMO, your attitude is un-American and misogynistic.

God Of Thunder

Where in my comments does it refer to her being a woman? Those comments would go that way whether it's aman, woman, or giraffe. Don't put words in my mouth and make me out to be sexist. I'm far from it.

Babo

Let's see you attack and belittle "Sharon" and "Julie" both female names for their opinions concerning local government by using derogatory terms such as "nitwit", "psyche ward", and "whiner". Furthermore, you express that you have followed these two posters' comments; that they "bore you" such that you need to "take a nap"; and thus would know that they are women as you attempt to diminish and devalue their contributions/opinions as unworthy of consideration.

Moreover, I didn't claim you were a sexist (a person who discriminates based on gender) but a misogynist, a person who hates women. Your writing reflects a spirit that is emotionally abusive towards women and that IMO indicates you are a misogynist.

sugar

Thank you Babo. Everytime Sharon writes a column I see attacks on her thoughts and now today I see an attack on her photo!
I have to wonder what city union these goons belong to that they feel so threatened by Sharon that they demean her every da** time her column comes out. Protecting your unholy alliance with corrupt government boys?
Thank you Sharon, how brave you are to put your name to a blog, to be attacked by anonymous cowards.

SamAdams

I'm not a fan of Sharon's -- I'm another one of those who is sick and tired of her incessant whining. Either put up or shut up, Sharon!

That being said, I couldn't agree with you more on the criticism of Sharon's photo. If you disagree with someone's policies (whether that be the "fat Chris Christie" or the "hag Hillary Clinton"), let's hear your reasons! What someone looks like has absolutely nothing to do with their policies or opinions. By all means, challenge their conclusions with facts of your own. But suggesting Nancy Pelosi is a horrible Representative because she uses Botox? REALLY?

It seems to me that those who criticize looks as opposed to actions, proposals, or policies must have nothing on their side. Rather than admit whoever it is they hate has a point, they resort to cheap shots. I'm pretty sure that says more about THEM than it does the object of their criticism!

Babo

I'm curious what do you expect Sharon to do about alleged violations of the Open Meetings Act and the problem of the City holding secret meetings? One could make the same statement i.e. put up or shut up about almost every columnist and poster herein including you and me.

sugar

Agree there too. She can vote and point out corrupt behavior.
Voting seems to not work here due to the obvious stranglehold the good old boys club has on some folks, combined with the less than low info voters that see a name and a title and vote for that person.
So carry on Sharon, carry on I'm with you.

Julie R.

@Babo: Those aren't opinions I make about certain Erie County judges and other county public officials. Those are facts.

sugar

Both, but when you have lawyers on the commission you get dirty dealing. The same garbage that goes on at every level of government.