Updated: Ard won't answer

Sandusky city manager suggests 'closed section' of her contract allows her to skip meetings. Read the contract here
Andy Ouriel
Jun 25, 2013


Sandusky’s top official flat out refused to give the seven city commissioners a clear explanation for why she missed an important finance meeting last week.

“I didn’t go to the meeting,” Ard said, responding to commissioner Diedre Cole’s question during a commission meeting Monday.

Ard was referring to her absence from Friday’s finance committee meeting.

Updated with link (click here) to review the city manager contract. 

“I would probably refer you to a closed section in my contract,” Ard said, about her right to skip the meeting. It’s unclear as to what section of her contract stipulates she can skip finance committee meetings.

Friday’s meeting proved important because members — consisting of certified public accountants who volunteer their services to the city — reviewed an audit detailing Sandusky’s recent revenues and expenses.

Ard is a voting member of the finance committee. The committee reviews fiscal challenges and contemplates suggestions as to how officials should set a budget.

Ex officio mayor John Hamilton also failed to attend. Hamilton, however, said he went to a Boy Scouts camp. “I should have given them more of a heads-up,” he said, about letting the committee know he would not attend.

Ard’s absence disappointed committee members.

“Show me in your contract where it says that,” finance committee chairman Allen Nickles said. “I’m speechless. Her response is an embarrassment and a slap in the face to the committee.

“She doesn’t want to go because we hold her feet to the fire,” Nickles said. 

Earlier this year, Nickles questioned a $16 million city operating budget finalized in April. Nickles said the income projections Ard used are way too optimistic.

Ard, the highest-paid city employee at about $126,000 a year, has not made any recommendations or suggestion to officials about balancing the budget if expenses trump income levels.

She did provide commissioners a list of potential cuts, including eliminating up to 27 city jobs, or about 10 percent of the city’s workforce. The cuts would total about $2.2 million in 2014.

She did not include a course of action or how the cuts could be implemented. That decision, she said, is for commissioners to make.



She isn't doing her job. I would get her out of her contract, look for someone who knows what they are doing & wants to be part of your city.

Licorice Schtick

This is weird. Why is the SR suddenly beating up on their former darling? Since when did it become her duty to attend EVERY Gosh Darn meeting of EVERY gosh darn committee? I'm pretty sure it's her executive prerogative and I don't see anything in the contract or the charter that says otherwise.

There's something else going on here.

dire wolf

What is really alarming is that she does not want to be at those meetings? You would think that as city manager, she would be looking forward to those meetings, with many ideas and demanding all hands on deck. That fact that she has to study her contract to see if she has to go is what makes me believe she has no value to the committee and the state of the city finances. We need someone who wants too be there.

Licorice Schtick

Yes but how do you know she does not want to be at those meetings? The agenda for the Feb. meeting had her presenting a 2013 draft budget. March meeting cancelled, April apparently never scheduled.

Minutes for February still not posted at http://www.ci.sandusky.oh.us/fin....

What happened at that meeting?


I would be looking at a way to rid myself of her at this point then. I would refer to the "don't let the door hit you" clause of your contract. Got to be cheaper in long run to rid yourself of a waste of taxpayer dollars on someone that is only here to collect a paycheck...


What is a closed section of her contract? Since when do we have closed sections of contracts? It makes it look like the commissioners made a deal with her on the side and the public knows nothing about the little deal. Ard has some airtight contract. She didn't show because the committee would hold her feet to the fire and she was not going to be embarrassed by them. She had no excuse other then she just didn't show up. It is nothing but arrogance and defiance. She has four votes protecting her and what does she care. It would be better for the city to buy out the six months severance and bid her farewell. The city will lose more money then if they just straight out bought her out.


Time to cut the cord people.I would think she needs to come up with a plausible excuse to miss a budget meeting. It would seem to me this meeting would be rescheduled if integral people couldn't attend, rather than go on. Why have the other committee members waste their time?

God Of Thunder

I have to say, this is the poorest excuse for a city manager that I've seen in a long time.


Is her contract public record? She needs to be terminated asap and we need to find a better selection committee!

Matt Westerhold

Thanks YoMamma. The city manager contract is a public record. It does not appear it's been posted here at sanduskyregister.com yet. We'll look for it today and get it posted. Thanks for the heads-up. 

T. A. Schwanger

While the Charter Change Initiative Petition drive Move Sandusky Forward initiated last spring would not have been the complete cure all for inadequacies in Sandusky's government, it would have changed the way Sandusky chooses it's City Manager by voter election vs the current method of the City Manager simply appeasing 4 City Commissioners to keep his/her job.

I'm personally surprised the Finance Committee hasn't moved to disband or all resign their positions in response to the City's lackadaisical attitude toward the committee.


She's doing a disservice to the community. Get a new city manager. Her attitude is atrocious and lesser employees would be fired. She is definitely not doing her job.


Maybe they should have hired an outside panel to select the new manager. Could have told you it wasn't going to be a thing, but is the public asked who they want to work for them? She is working for herself and why not with a salary like that, come on Sandusky get with it!!!! Give a base salary and a bonus based on performance!!!

Raoul Duke

This is all part of the curse placed on Sandusky for building the city on ancient Native American burial grounds.


Isn't she just following the example set by Washington D.C.? She's really doing a good job by their standards.

There you go again

Ard is using Obama's "Stay out of the spotlight until everybody forgets" policy. It's working for Obama...maybe it will for Ard, as well!!!

Julie R.

"Stay out of the spotlight until everybody forgets."

Works even better for the county!

Home Boy

OK, so she wants to go about it "according to my contract". Fine, when her "contract" is up DO NOT renew. Better yet, buy her out NOW, and get someone in there who really has this city's interests at the top of their priorities. It's not rocket science here, folks.

Tool Box

Don't let the door hit you in the butt! Your services, or more like lack of services, are no longer needed in our city!


$2.2million/27= $81,481

Sooo... on average the 27 employees due to be let go are making $81,481 a year!! Most of the time I see city employees they are standing around or planting flowers. I guess they deserve to be making more(about 30k more) than a police officer patrolling the streets of Los Angeles, California!!!!


Most likely they are figuring in wages plus benefits.


Un-freaking-believable. Ard simply cannot leave the premises soon enough!

I understand that severance is often involved when there are layoffs and the like, but does ANYbody have an ironclad contract the nature of which gives them bonuses even when they fail to perform the job for which they were hired? Fail abysmally like Ms. Ard?

Let's get a real City Manager into City Hall, and let's do it NOW before the damage Ard's incompetence and/or inattention goes any further. And if the City Commission won't do it, let's get some Commissioners on board who a) have a clue how to run a business, and b) have the honor to represent what's best for the CITY, and not what's best for THEM (or what's popular at the moment). Best guess is that any Commission comprised of responsible and honorable men and women would have booting Ard's butt as item #1 on their "to do" list!

Julie R.

Geez, the way everybody is attacking Ard, maybe she should put in some bulletproof windows or something to protect herself from the people like the joke Erie County courts did!

God Of Thunder

BWAHAHAHAHA... I knew it was coming...Thanks for coming thruough!!!!!!


I don't think Sandusky will be happy with any City Manager they hire. Does Cole bring this up so SR might sell an extra paper? How many meetings has Cole missed?




It is pretty obvious watching the meeting and from the Register reporting that Deidre Cole is the favored pet and puppet on the commission.

dire wolf

I have to ask.......1) Why would she not want to be at those meetings? It is obvious she doesn't care about the city budget. Why is she holding the job she has?? The sooner this city lets her go the better. 2) Who would allow her to put into her contract (and try to seal it)that she does not have to attend those meetings?? wouldn't that have been a HUGE red flag in the hiring process. Please let us know who signed off on her having that in her contract if it really is. They must also go. This city is suffering because of it's leadership people. This should be all the evidence you need. I feel sorry for all those that went to the meeting just to find out who we have to represent us.


Why is the City of Sandusky suffering? I don't think you can blame it all on the leadership.

dire wolf

is that the can of worms you really want opened?? Do you need a list of all the taxpayer dollars that has been wasted and lost (citizens suffering)because of wrongdoings and poor leadership in the 10 years? Maybe we should add in perkins township and huron into that conversation, and you might get an idea of the problems we've had with "leadership". I wasn't willing to fire the first shot there, and still won't, but since you seem too be dumb enough to ask, be careful what you wish for. you just might get your answer here.


so our city manager skips a meeting on the city finances wow that is terrible i bet if it had to do with her pay she would of been there

Julie R.

Look at the bright side, Sanduskians. At least she doesn't have the power to forgive a county public official's $200K in back taxes. That's a plus in itself.



doggie mom

Fire her...she has not done a thing positive for this city!!!


Ard is very arrogant and a poor excuse for a city manager ! She is making over $1000,000 a year for doing what ? Just sayin' !

T. A. Schwanger


While the Charter Change Initiative Petition drive Move Sandusky Forward initiated last spring would not have been the complete cure all for inadequacies in Sandusky's government, it would have changed the way Sandusky chooses it's City Manager by voter election vs the current method of the City Manager simply appeasing 4 City Commissioners to keep his/her job.

I'm personally surprised the Finance Committee hasn't moved to disband or all resign their positions in response to the City's lackadaisical attitude toward the committee and its recommendations.


Really, Tim? Copying and pasting your own comments multiple places in the thread? And you asked if I'd join your group?

T. A. Schwanger



Aside from your issue with my comments appearing twice on this thread, how about sharing your personal wisdom and opinion on this subject.

doggie mom

Ms. Cole loves the sound of her own voice....


Thanks Matt! Read Section 9 - F3. If the lazy commissioners would start giving her evaluations about her lack of managing then they would have an out on paying her severance!


If I lived under the RECKONING of the SANDUSKY REGISTER and its Editor, I would be gone tooo looking for another job outside of Sandusky...I'm sure that is her goal! I don't blame her. He loved her oh not so long ago, but then the earth tilted on it's axis and now she is the NEW target!!


So where are the other police reports regarding your FAVE "SAGA" on here? Where are ALL the reports and the facts? If you want to be a real reporting newspaper...REPORT IT ALL!!


What concerns me the most is the arrogance of her answer when asked why she wasn't at the meeting. She simply said “I would probably refer you to a closed section in my contract?" Really? We pay her over $120,000 each year to manage this city and she owes answers.

There you go again

Can't you get better picture of Ard? Or is the best there is?!?!


Maybe the reason she didn't make it to the meeting was because she was listening to her voice mail messages from Yost.


...or maybe she was out to eat with Yost.

Julie R.

Off the topic here but is there any news yet on when the Clerk of Court is going to get records online?


The best question is: Why would we chase out a person that did love the city, was very intelligent, and worked hard for the city? WE MISS YOU, MIKE WILL!!!!