Commissioners choose N.C. candidate, Nicole Ard, as new city manager

City officials said late Thursday they're negotiating a contract with city manager candidate Nicole Ard, the assistant town manager from Hillsborough, N.C.
Sandusky Register Staff
Oct 10, 2011


City officials said late Thursday they're negotiating a contract with city manager candidate Nicole Ard, the assistant town manager from Hillsborough, N.C.

Commissioners held an executive session at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to interview the four candidates for the city manager's spot, and at 6:35 p.m. they returned to open session to announce their decision.

The other three candidates and their previous or current positions are: Gary Boden, city administrator in Clinton, Iowa; Dennis Durham, city manager in Parchment, Mich.; and Andy Merriman, city manager in Bluefield, W. Va. 

Be sure to pick up Friday's Register to get the full story about the decision, the candidate and what this means for the city.



I wish her the best of luck.  It would be nice if she brings some new ideals to the table to help our city.



Right to Work State.

Is that why she was picked?




She bailing out because all the RTW non union factories in her state moved the work to China? 




She could have gotten a job with Bell in Toledo and went on a few free trips to China to see where the jobs went.




I hope she has done her homework and is totally aware of what she is getting herself into.  This is a UNION town and the financial status of the city is dismal.  I am sure she has organizational talents, but Sandusky may be too much for anyone.  The city does need new ideas and leadership.  Good luck with anyone in dealing with the NEW city commissioners and city officials.  If she is selected, I hope she will stay longer than a few years.


The problem as I see it? If she's no good, we'll go through this whole exercise again in a year or two. And if she IS any good, the Commission will get rid of her so that it can get its own way again, and we'll go through this exercise again in a year or two.

As near as I can tell, the only thing worse than this Commission HIRING a new City Manager is letting the typical Sandusky electorate VOTE for one.


She was asked about her business development experience at the meet and greet and her response was the they had a staff of about 8 people to handle that in NC.  WE ARE IN FOR MORE than a 3 day NOR'EASTER.  Batten down thw hatches and reef the Sails.


Terribly disappointed.  I didn't think she measured up.  She was the least of the picks as I didn't think she had enough experience.  I didn't think the commission would decide so soon after the interviews. Sadly, I think we will be doing this all over again in a couple of years. 


The biggest obstacle to progress in Sandusky is the negative attitude of so many of its citizens, as demonstrated in these comments.

Give her a chance.  She may surprise you.


If she is of quality she'll hit the road once she sees what she's gotten herself into.

Good luck. You'll need it.

Lightening McQueen

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

Raoul Duke

Welcome Sandumbsky. Just wait until it snows...

Smart guy

I just do not understand why they do not hire local people. People who were born here, schooled, and have worked here most of or all of their life. Just dosen't make sense to me.


Why hire people that have no ties to Sandusky? How can you expect someone to do the right things for the city of Sandusky if they have no personal interest in the city. Just having the job is not enough incentive for this person to care about Sandusky like it's native citizen's.  If the city cannot find anyone locally for the managers position they may want to decide to try to lure successful Sandusky born and rasied people who have moved away for college and careers.  Someone succesful in life and business that still has a passion for this city will do a much better job then the carrosel of out of state people and corrupt locals that have been hired into various city positions the past couple decades.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines


I have to be honest: I was actually quite impressed by one of the candidates for City Manager. In the spirit of further truth, that candidate was NOT this one.

I can't wish Ard good luck until I know what her agenda for the City looks like. I may not WANT her to have good luck if the things she wants to do are the wrong things! I will, however, wish all of us who live in the city good luck. I have a sneaking suspicion we're going to need it...

  Re: Reader You are so “right on” with this post.    Re: to anyone who thinks that more leadership should come from locals.   Really?  Aren’t the majority of the City Commission from here - grown up here? There are a great many cities that have Mayors – that are not from the local city they are leading. The citizens of these cities (areas where I have previously lived) say…that is because they need to have leadership who doesn’t have ties to people who can “stuff them in their back pocket”. I used to feel that cities should “promote from within”, but when you look at the differences between thriving areas and areas like ours (or others who think “inside the city”), there is a difference.   I think having a City Manager who doesn’t have any local ties from the good old days in high school, the prom, and…that one football game (where we were so awesome as a team)….will be a benefit to the Commission (if she doesn’t make similar mistakes Matt Klein made). After all, this is a small town. The Commissioners would have a history with each other to some extent – or, at least family members would have a history.  This can create negative conflict within a group dynamic.  Obviously, yes…it can also create a strong sense of community. Adding an outside City Manager can add to that balance.   The only issue with this is: Human Behavior. People fear change. It’s normal.    She will be up against a “culture”. No matter who was chosen from the outside would still have to be concerned with this thick culture.  I don’t know that the Commissioners are aware that this culture exists. I understand that it is difficult to self-assess. I really hope the Commissioners were transparent with her.    It was the right choice to bring someone in from another geographic area. I hope people are not going to be overwhelming presumptuous because “your candidate” didn’t get the job. You don’t know that person either. It isn’t wise to be merely impressed with the spoken word at one meeting and how someone showcases themselves as a public speaker. Keep in mind…public speaking is a skill that most famous cult leaders utilized to gain support. It's acting, really.   The candidates come with a piece of paper that showcases their resume, their degrees, and their accomplishments (which anyone can use “creative adjectives” to create the better illusion). But, I think it will take a great deal more than a sexy resume to do a good job here. That’s put to rest now. Ms. Ard must now show us that she is a leader. I will commit to supporting her, because I have no reason not to. I didn’t apply for position, so I shall support the person who was chosen…until I am given a reason not to.      I hope that this town will at least give her a chance. Honestly, while Sandusky is not my home, it is still a unique geographic area. More locals complain about it than I do.  It could be “the place” that the tri-county area residents want to come all year long. The local population has been devastated, and perhaps even “shocked” by the rust-belt settling in. That’s understandable. It can be difficult to “create” when you are in shock. So, bringing in a new person – who doesn’t feel that very same set of emotions, could entice a whole new thought process….and be more creative. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t “understand” - - it just means that she looks at our situation differently.   You won’t need luck Ms. Ard.   That’s not even a tangible thing. But, you will need a plan.     This can work.  We just have to be open to the possibilities of a new future and rather than fear change - - embrace it!

To jdahnke  You had a local person who grew up here two city managers ago and commission ran him off.  And the person before him was the former police chief of Sandusky. So, if my math skills are intact, that would be two local people who grew up here or worked their entire career here, and 1 guy they hired from Mason, Ohio, as your last 3 city managers. Apparently, your line of thinking is not embraced by those who make the decisions around here.


Somebody needs to warn her about the local newspapers negative outlook to this City and its public officials. Or she will find out the hard way.



Start her at 70,000 for 90 days, increase to $75,000 for 180 days IF she is doing the job.  This should be strictly an at will position.  If she does the job, she doesn't need a contract to cover her butt.  Ohio is an at will employer state.


Raoul, she doesnt have to worry about the snow. The street department , with help from other departments, will take care of it, just like they always do.



She quit.  Now what.


hey that true, I heard the gossip...I would run too..





WHY u ask, how shall i say this, SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS? puppets for


Don't pity her. She'll be
working for nincompoops, but . . .
don't many of us?

man4451 says


WHY u ask, how shall i say this, SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS? puppets for

Because we want people who can talk and speak like humans should and with out a record a mile long hard to find......

Kimo said, “ She bailing out because all the RTW non union factories in her state moved work to China” Last stats I checked from 2010 puts 6 forced union states in the top ten for jobs lost to China. (California, NY, Illinois, Ohio, PA, Mass.)   Not sure about the selection, but its often good to have an outside perspective.

Yes she quit.

She only needed 6 hrs more to file for unemployment.  She will now recieve $ 600.00 a week for 92 weeks unemployment.  God bless her, at least she is smart.




Re:Last stats I checked from 2010

What right wing web site did you get that data from?


BW1's picture

The problem is that anyone local knows, cares about, and has opinions of their own about many of the city's policy issues. Why would someone local and qualified be willing to take a position that essentially boils down to the Commission's flunky, charged with making things work, but with no authority over policy? Hiring an out of town carpetbagger is only a temporary fix for this problem, because once they move here and live here, they're bound to develop views of their own about local issues, and the Commissioners won't tolerate a City Manager with a mind of their own.

As long as the City Manager is subordinate to the Commissioners, nothing will change. It's essentially a parliamentary system, where the executive is gone after a vote of no confidence. The difference is, under a REAL parliamentary system, there's a check/balance in that the legislature ALSO has to stand for re-election when that happens.

This is why the Schwangerites' proposal to elect the manager is a good start, but doesn't go far enough. No competent local person will serve except with the autonomy, independence, and policy influence of a real mayor. The city needs the checks and balances of dividing power between the executive and legislative branch.

Unfortunately, our modern educational system continually fails to produce an electoral majority that can comprehend these concepts, let alone apply them to a given vote.


 Whats her race. This city is getting like cleveland


All about the government of Hillsborough, N.C         Posted October 3, 2007

Hillsborough, N.C. — The Town of Hillsborough has named a new assistant
town manager.

Nicole Ard, assistant to the town manager in Leesburg, Va., was selected
from a pool of 150 applicants. She will replace former Assistant Town
Manager Demetric Potts, who resigned in May for a Public Safety manager
position with Wake County.

Ard will start work on or about Oct. 22 and will be paid a salary of $84,000.

Ard also worked as a management assistant in the Phoenix, Ariz., city
manager’s office from 1996-2001 and has interned with the city
governments in Phoenix and in Dayton and Dublin, Ohio.


@ kimo, so you want some right wing data that I got my stats from, how this: UNIONS.ORG. I could list 150 more sources; being that your a pro-union dork this one should be ok for ya!

Tiger Dad

Just so I'm clear, Sandusky is still without a City Manager?