UPDATED: Ard evaluation delayed again

City manager’s prior commitment postpones overdue review. (Updated with video of Sandusky commissioner Diedre Cole on Between the Lines.)
Andy Ouriel
Sep 20, 2013

 

Sandusky city commissioners planned on completing a long-awaited performance review of city manager Nicole Ard on Monday.

But the evaluation faces another delay because Ard informed commissioners earlier this week she can’t attend Monday’s meeting because she’s scheduled to attend a government conference she previously registered for.

Ard sent city commissioners a text message to alert them of her absence. “We’ll just have to wait until she gets back to complete it,” said commissioner Keith Grohe, who’s captaining the evaluation process.

Commissioners originally estimated the evaluation process would take about 30 days when first announced in mid-July.

The delay in finishing an evaluation is frustrating to some, including commissioner Diedre Cole. “I just want to get this process over with,” Cole said. “It’s long overdue, and it’s taking an inordinate amount of time to do something that should have been done months ago.”

Ard, hired in October 2011, still hasn’t received a job evaluation since starting.

“It should have been done in January (2013),” commissioner Wes Poole said. “It’s my expectation that we will complete it as soon as possible.”

Watch Sandusky City Commission Diedre Cole on Between the Lines today

 

Evaluation time
Ard seemingly doesn’t want to receive an evaluation.

In March, she publicly disputed any notion that she’s required to receive an evaluation.

She indicated someone waived the review clause during an informal gathering weeks before commissioners hired her. There’s no record, however, that anyone waived the provision.

Two city contracts also clearly spell out an evaluation process; Ard’s employment contract and a contract with a firm hired by the city in 2011 to assist in finding a city manager.

A Register analysis published in January determined Ard — whose annual salary is about $126,000 — failed to complete or did not address 12 goals officials established for her in 2012.

Nicole Ard’s goals
A Register analysis published in January determined Sandusky city manager Nicole Ard did not fully accomplish 12 goals set for her in 2012. The story relied on city data and sources.

The goals:
1. Community engagement
2. Prioritize and track projects
3. Improve efficiency and effectiveness
4. Hire police chief, improve department operations
5. Approve balanced budget
6. Create downtown vision plan
7. Outline plan for selling water
8. Progress land rejuvenation
9. Cooperate with nearby governments
10. Develop and implement strategic plan
11. Negotiate three union contracts
12. Update policies and procedures

The story relied on city data and sources to conclude Ard, at the time, did not fully accomplish a single goal. Ard declined to provide any information while the article was being researched, and she has not refuted the information in it since it was published.

Despite her lack of progress, some commissioners fully support Ard.

Commissioners Cole and Poole both already submitted evaluations for Ard that are both critical of her job performance. They have also raised questions about Ard’s performance in public session. Cole said previously that the majority coalition on commission has “dumbed down” the review.

Meanwhile, commissioners Pervis Brown, Julie Farrar and Jeff Smith all have expressed strong support for Ard, as they feel others constantly “beat up” on her.

Grohe and ex officio mayor John Hamilton haven’t expressed a strong opinion either way.

Comments

Darkhorse

Wow, what wonderful timing. You would think her timing could be better. Being absent from a city commission meeting and putting off her evaluation at the same time is strategic planning on her part. The city manager should be suspended for pulling a stunt like this. Does leadership even exist at city hall?

gramafun

horsehockey....what happened to the FIRST evaluation this commission was supposed to do on her in 2012???? why didn't THAT one get done? She was due a ONE YEAR evaluation in 2012 before she got her first raise. Cole and Poole voted to give her that raise too. Where were your buddies Cole and Poole when that one didn't get done? Didn't hear any complaints then, did you? Nope. They were quite as church mice then. But the minute the SR whipped up complaints at the end of last year and all this year, NOW Cole and Poole are in a tizzy and everyone is screaming blue murder. Why is that?

Julie R.

Why don't the county commissioners ever get evaluated? For that matter, why not the prosecutor Kevin Baxter along with his sidekick judges at the courthouse?

Nemesis

They do get evaluated, the first Tuesday in November. DUH.

Darkhorse

Julie R. they do get evaluated every time you go to vote them in or out at the voting booth; they get evaluated by the people. As for Baxter, he goes uncontested so there isn't much you can do about it. He has a job for as long as he wants it or until someone runs for his seat.

Centauri

Stop giving courtesy votes to unopposed candidates. Courtesy votes are a vote of confidence telling the unopposed candidates that they are doing an A+ job as a public official.

There are people who would consider running against an incumbant for a position, but are afraid they wouldn't stand a chance. By casting or not casting a vote for an incumbant, you give those people an idea of where voters stand. If an unopposed candidate is not doing a good job then maybe someone will see that the voters are not satisfied and run against that candidate in the next election.

Stop with the courtesy votes and change will occur. Voters seem to think that the ballot must be filled out completely. That is not true. There could be 50 unopposed candidates on a ballot. Your ballot will be accepted if you only vote for one candidate or issue and leave the rest of ballot blank.

Imagine 40,000 voters and ballots but the unopposed candidate only gets one vote.

Stop It

Totally agree..I've heard many tell me that they think they have to put in that x or fill the circle because of no opposition.

Julie R.

What does voting have to do with evaluations? If the good ole' boy & girl network in Erie County get to keep their positions term after term by default only, the least that should be done is an evaluation on the job they are doing. After all, they are the ones with the power to cause a lot of damage --- a heck of a lot more damage than a city manager would ever have the power to cause.

Nemesis

Again, they DO get evaluated, by the voters, who are the only ones with the ability to do anything about the results of their evaluation. If the voters are too lazy to make sound choices, then they get the government they deserve.

Julie R.

Gee, (sarcasm intended) had I known that an auditor was going to someday authorize a fraudulent transfer of my elderly mother's property under fraud documents prepared by attorneys, a recorder was going to knowingly file fraud documents, a joke court was going to allow their attorney friends to file a forged Will two years after her death and another joke court was going to force property with serious defects in the title to be sold at a scam sheriff sale under a fraud preliminary judicial report, I would have made dam* sure I didn't vote for them.

After all, doesn't the law in every state say "that anybody who assists in fraud is just as guilty as the one(s) that benefit?"

Kilroy

Wish I could have used that excuse whenever my bosses called me in for a meeting.

Looks to me that she is padding her resume and networking and not doing her job.

gramafun

Why is it that Cole and Poole are the ONLY two commissoners EVER quoted in this newspaper about Ms Ard? It seems to me that perhaps Farrar, Smith and Brown are not too far off on their comment. But what is most ingenuous is that ALL the commissioners were to evaluatate her back in 2012. What happened to THAT evaluation???? Where were Cole and Poole with their mouths then?????? You don't hear them yapping about that evaluation when they did not do the first year evaluation they were supposed to do and missed it. Why is that? It didn't get done until the SR brought it up. NOW they are trying to make a big noise about they got this one done. BULLFEATHERS

T. A. Schwanger

###

@grama

Actually I recall Poole and Cole wanting an evaluation of the City Manager and other charter officers from day one. It's the rest of what the Matt Westerhold refers to as the Majority Coalition not wanting to do an evaluation of the City Manager.

Larry

Ard can't be evaluated, she hasn't done anything.

rjr58

A Performance Evaluation should be completed every 6 months or at a minium yearly. The Commissoners should set forth a yearly Development Plan along with the Performance Objectives for the current year. If results are not met a Partially Effective rating should be given and the employee should be placed on a Performance Improvement Program. If improvement it not acheive in 12 months, termination process should start. I am not sure if the City Manager is performing her job effectively or not but it is clear that the Commissioners are not doing there their job.

Nemesis

The commissioners are terrified to evaluate her. After the Nuesse debacle, they don't dare admit that another out of town "rock star" found through a costly search turned out to be a dud.

Julie R.

Did we forget that the attorney Murray, now running once again for city commissioner, was also involved in the Nuesse debacle? As an afterthought, wasn't Baxter & Lyons, not to mention Erie County's favorite Lorain County rent-a-judge Cirigliano, also involved?

Enough said.

Nemesis

Which has no relevance to this article or the comment to which you're responding. The individuals you mention had nothing to do with the debacle in question, which was the expensive search for an out of town star who was going to fix everything, that star turning out to be a dud, response to her dismissal from the victim mongers in the community.

But you never let a hijacking opportunity slip by, do you, Julie?

Julie R.

What do you mean the individuals mentioned had nothing to do with the debacle in question? Murray was involved in it. Baxter & Lyons were, too. Didn't Baxter & Lyons whine that she wasn't keeping them informed of secret drug raids? Wasn't Cirigliano (Erie County's favorite rent-a-judge) the hearing officer?

Nemesis

Again, they were not involved in her selection, the decision to spend big bucks on a search for an out of town star, her failings in the job, or the reaction of the local victim industry to her dismissal, which are the factors the commissioners fear should they dismiss Ard.

I'm sure that the city hall janitor threw away any of her personal effects she left behind when she cleaned out her desk upon departure, but that doesn't make him a relevant factor to the political fallout of her dismissal.

Unassumer

Just leave her pink slip in her mailbox and she can pick up her last check on the way out the door when she gets back. Can't wait to hear that this person is out of a job.

OMGreally

I agree with that...she obviously is too busy to attend any meetings, let alone a performance evaluation that she knows she will be raked across the coals on. So she can continue to dodge them. Just text her the pink slip, as this seems to be her favorite mode of communication, deposit a final check, and move on....She will get the message eventually

Julie R.

I can't wait to hear who the next person is in line for the city manager job. Care to place any bets that it's a certain attorney?

Nemesis

Your insinuation that he seeks power militates against that, since the position is essentially being a lackey for the commissioners.

2Timothy1-7

Where's the City Law Director and why isn't his job evaluated? Isn't he responsible for ensuring compliance with City ordinances, contracts, and policies by the Commission and City employees?

Further, why is he allowed to send out legal work in unbid contracts without the Commission's approval. What does he do to earn his outrageous salary? Why does the City of Sandusky always seem to be behind the eight ball legally speaking. The law director should be proactive and out in front of issues such as Ard's evaluation

Wasn't the Nuesse debacle by itself evidence of the law director's incompetence in office? Why did the City have to hire outside counsel in that matter? Exactly how was Cirigliano hired and paid to perform official acts on behalf of the city? Where is the record of his oath of office, his contract and the payments made to him? Where are the records for Margaret Cannon who was also acting in official capacity for the City of Sandusky?

Nemesis

It's not the law director's job to defend any but the most trivial of lawsuits. When you're being sued, you want a good litigator specializing in the area of the lawsuit. No decent litigator would ever be a city law director - they can make far more money in private practice and the city job would bore them to tears.

Julie R.

So if no decent litigator would ever be a city law director because they can make far more money in private practice and the city job would bore them to tears, why is Rich Stumphauzer from Erie County's favorite Lorain County law firm of Stumphauzer & O'Toole (who as we all know were the attorneys for MetroParks) the city law director in Vermilion? So he can farm out all legal matters in the city of Vermilion to his Lorain County law firm, maybe? Didn't he and his Lorain County law firm get sued for refusing to provide itemized copies of what they were charging the Vermilion taxpayers?

As an afterthought, if the Murray that's running for city commissioner (won't it bore him to tears?) were to ever become Sandusky's city manager, could he farm out all legal matters in the city of Sandusky to the Murray law firm?

Nemesis

Maybe if Stumphauzer had been an ace litigator, maybe the Metroparks might not have lost. A good litigator working as a full time law director is like a heart surgeon working as a school nurse.

And no, being a city commissioner wouldn't bore a politician seeking power. It's a part time gig, and Sandusky city government offers plenty of political drama.

2Timothy1-7

Actually, Metroparks did win their cases for many years up until the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against them. Dennis O'Toole of the firm led the litigation. He didn't win all those cases because he was good or had the facts on his side but because Cirigliano was the judge and the system was set up for insiders to win.

The Metroparks is an outstanding example of ill advised litigation and the failure of the County's legal counsel (Kevin Baxter) to rein in inappropriate litigation to protect the taxpayers. Baxter was the statutory counsel to Metroparks and should have advised them not to build the Greenway in the first place due title problems. But Baxter (and some Metroparks board members) benefited from that litigation because the law firm helped him out for free with Island Express.

Of course Metroparks did eventually lose in the Ohio Supreme Court but only because the property owners had the resources to take the case that far and apply the political pressure necessary to finally receive a fair hearing. For most people, there is little justice in litigation with government entities because they control the process.

Also, you misapprehend the nature of the law director's job. It is akin to corporate counsel for a company.

Finally, it's not the political drama that's attractive to politicians such as Mr. Murray. It's the power to influence policies and contracts to benefit his clients and law firm and ultimately himself

Julie R.

@Nemesis: Sorry, but Stumphauzer (Vermilion's law director) wasn't the litigator for Metroparks. In fact, Stumphauzer wasn't even with that Lorain County law firm at the time. The firm was known as Baumgartner & O'Toole and Dennis O'Toole (who by the way resides in Vermilion, Ohio) was the ace litigator. Right after the case went to the Supreme Court ~ or maybe it was even before it went to the Supreme Court ~ Baumgartner, his son, and another attorney up and left that firm for unknown reasons.

2Timothy1-7

Stumphauzer was a member of the Baumgartner & O'Toole law firm. He was as a partner but not a name partner.

Julie R.

My mistake. A partner but not a named partner until Baumgartner, his attorney son and another attorney up and walked out.

Centauri

"Where is the record of his oath of office, his contract and the payments made to him? Where are the records for Margaret Cannon who was also acting in official capacity for the City of Sandusky?"

In corrupt Ohio, the public records that you mentioned do not exist or are hidden from public view. Don't bother reporting any Ohio corruption to the Ohio Attorney General or FBI. In Ohio, the Toledo FBI and Cleveland FBI are in cahoots with the corrupt powers that be of Ohio. In corrupt Ohio, the system is set up that a citizen cannot expose the corruption. If a citizen in Ohio sees that a county prosecutor is involved in corruption, the OAG directs that citizen to go to that corrupt county prosecutor and file a complaint. Does that make sense?

Cowboy

I got your evaluation right here! A big FAT F!

SKULLNBONES

She is invisible in the community. Weird.

2Timothy1-7

Nemesis, you missed the thrust of my argument. It's the law director's job to act to avoid lawsuits by ensuring contracts, ordinances, and policies are followed by city employees and City Commission. In my opinion he appears to not meet the standard.

In my opinion, the Ard matter is another lawsuit waiting to happen due the law director's alleged malfeasence. By allowing City Commission and Ard to avoid compliance with her contract by lack of evaluation, there's the potential for future litigation and the City doesn't receive the services to which it's entitled from employees and Commission. A metric by which one can measure a law director is the amount of controversy and litigation on his watch.

Also if it's necessary to litigate, city insurance usually defends the case as part of the policy. The City doesn't need to hire outside counsel, especially friends. If it must hire outside counsel, it should be fully vetted with Commission and discussed prior to initiating or defending litigation.

Finally, it's highly doubtful your law director would make the money he makes for the city in the private sector. I can't see any company hiring him as inside counsel at $135,000 plus benefits which is analagous to his job with the City.

Also, you didn't address the issues concerning the improper and illegal hiring of Cirigliano and Cannon in the Nuesse case not to mention the lack of transparency of expenditures of funds in that hearing process. Why did the City need to use another city's law director to prosecute Nuesse and how was she legally appointed to so the job? How was Cirigliano legally appointed to act as a hearing officer?

To Julie R. Private attorneys for years have been seeking government jobs while holding down private practices for purposes of health care benefits, pensions and the ability to assign contracts. In my opinion they appear to use those government jobs to unlawfully steer contracts for work that they should be doing as part of their government job to their friends or own firms. It is a violation of Ohio ethics law and federal law specifically RC 2921.42,2921.43 and 18 USC 666.

The practice was partially exposed in Cuyahoga County where law firms and lawyers were prosecuted by federal authorities for illegal contracts in the Maple Heights City Schools, the Auditor's office and Construction contracts. Parma City Schools' lawyer and law firm were also exposed but never prosecuted. The firm paid the schools $4,000,000 in my opinion to avoid prosecution and to continue the practice with other government entities. The firm's managing partner is brother to a prominent Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge while the lawyer Anthony Calabresse III is the son of a retired Appeals Court and Common Pleas Court Judge. Calabresse was convicted by federal authorities for contract fraud in other matters and is facing county indictments for bribery and contract fraud in a rape case and the Ameritrust building sale in 2005.

I suspect the political power of these law firms with major government practices prevents review. For example, the law firm involved with Maple Heights City Schools and former Auditor Frank Russo's office was led by former counsel to the Supreme Court of Ohio Louis Damiani. His partners included former assistant Attorney Generals and Cuyahoga County prosecutors. Damiani died in 2006 and apparently could no longer call in the political markers to protect the $22 million scam in the Auditor's office.

Similarly, Margaret Cannon in the Nuesse matter was employed by Schottenstein Zox et al law firm which also does a lot of government contract business.

Where do you think Mr. Damiani and his partners learned how to steer government contracts? It also may explain why former Cuyahoga County prosecutor Bill Mason claims not to have known of the corruption despite the fact that there's a paper trail of reports concerning school and other contracts.

Do you think similar blindness to unlawful activity occurred in Erie County government with Metro Parks, Island Express, Nuesse case, McClung stolen gun case etc when it involves politically connected law firms?

Centauri

Excellent comments!!!! You know some things that Ohio newspapers refuse to report with their selective news reporting. The public records in Ohio are available to Ohio newspapers to expose the corruption but that is if the newspapers or news media wants to.

The American news media refused to report all of the facts about operation "Fast And Furious" illegal gun running. It took a Mexican news media to expose the truth for Congress to take action. I see that not much has been done about the illegal gun running.

Centauri

There is also that Sandusky, Ohio housing scandal that seems to have been buried. Out of sight and out of mind. Most people in Ohio seem to forget what happened last week.

Nemesis

While you're correct that the law director's job is to HELP the city avoid litigation, he has no power to compel action by elected officials. Sometimes people can't be protected from themselves. If the commissioners are bound and determined to do something that is actionable, sometimes all he can do is tell them "don't say I didn't warn you."

When litigation happens, the commissioners and the insurance carrier are likely to defer to the law director regarding choice of counsel. He's the one who knows who are the best at what's needed in the area. The insurance company may be out of state, and have no idea who's who in the local legal landscape,

Regarding what the law director could make in the private sector, $135K is chump change, A litigator can make more than that in fees off a single half million dollar judgement.

While members of private law firms may accept law director appointments, especially the part time ones common in smaller cities, no law firm will let their best "gunslingers" waste time sitting in a law director's job.

2Timothy1-7

Your comment is disingenuous. It is his role to advise Commission to follow the law, policies and enforce contract obligations. No commissioner would ignore counsel from the law director to enforce contracts or violate the law or policies.

The problem is he doesn't advise the Commission on anything but lets problems develop so turmoil ensues and the city wastes money on litigation.

And a law director is not a litigator but similar to in house corporate counsel for a company. Please stop comparing law directors to litigators. Again no private company would hire him as in house counsel for $135,000 plus benefits.

Nemesis

Right, because no politician ever went off the rails. No city council ever did something blatantly unconstitutional. Riiigggghhhttt. Especially a bunch of buffoons like the Sandusky City Commission.

Your last paragraph is exactly my point - in house counsel doesn't defend lawsuits either - they call in gunslingers from outside. And by the way, I am very good friends with someone who, as in house corporate counsel, easily doubles that rate.

2Timothy1-7

Of course you're good friends with an in-house counsel who "easily doubles that rate". My guess is it's the former law director who is in house counsel at a very large and powerful company. That's not remotely equivalent to a small city law director.

Again, my point is the chaos in Sandusky is due to an incompetent law director who is not proactive and is not doing his job. Seriously if Icsman is so good at his job why did Murray and Murray let him go?

Truth or Dare

l. Marina District Project and a large un-deposited check

2. Nuesse Fiasco

3. FEDERAL Housing scandal, costing taxpayers $3 Million and still no answers. Must be the local office investigating? Or, there is no real investigation, let alone plans to prosecute anyone for that theft. How are those homes coming along?

4. A court system and PD with questionable practices, so much so it brings the ACLU to town.

5. Re-elected/elected/back in town to run again after scootin' out of town after the above mentioned City Commissioners w/personal agendas that hire puppets as City Managers. The kind of managers that have no problem with derogatory words and seem to think they don't work FOR THE PEOPLE, nor should have to answer to THE PEOPLE.

6. Law Directors offices, Rent-a-Judges and lawyers from the east that our tax $$$$'s have/are going to, of which the information regarding that $$$ amount is with-held from the public.

Gee I don't know, anyone notice a pattern over the last 10 yrs. easy, let alone are you really surprised at the fact that no evaluation has been done? They evaluate her, they're evaluating themselves. All the more reason I don't give out courtesy votes like they're political kisses for babies, and will be voting for ISSUES only. I will never cast another vote for a City Commissioner, and can only hope and pray we someday will go to a Mayor/Ward system.

SamAdams

The City Commission managed to find an excuse to fire Rick Finn, but the reality was a lot more straightforward than any alleged conflict of interest: The Commissioners HATED him because he actually did his job the way it was supposed to be done.

The City Commission managed to run Mike Will out of town. Will TRIED to do the job the way it was supposed to be done, but was shut down and/or reprimanded and/or made to jump through myriad hoops to accomplish ANYthing.

The City Commission HAD to get rid of the last City Manager because, though he often appeared to knuckle under to Commission commands, he also had other issues that were made public enough that he couldn't keep his job.

Now the City Commission has hired a City Manager that is, in many ways, PERFECT for the job. She doesn't do much, if anything. She's unavailable to the public. She's unavailable to the press. She's apparently unqualified (look at all of the uncompleted or untouched projects on her "goals" list). And we've got a bunch of Commissioners, NONE of whom are qualified as a City Manager, managing the City. No WONDER we've got an even worse mess here than in the past. And no wonder five out of the seven Commissioners don't seem to have any problems with Ard!

2Timothy1-7

I agree with your comments with the exception of that regarding Rick Finn.

Finn was investigated and found to have violated ethics laws. His case was referred to Baxter. Baxter in turn called in Dean Holman as special prosecutor. He declined to prosecute.

Importantly, at this time Baxter and his company Island Express had grant, loan and or contracts pending with the City, State and other government entities. I think there was a quid pro quo: Finn is not prosecuted in exchange for not outting Baxter's conflicts of interest and ethics violations, or abuse of office.

As I recall, at least one City employee objected but was ignored. Maybe older readers remember more than me.

On the other hand you may be correct. Perhaps Finn was set up on the ethics charge to get him out of the way for Baxter and his company which included investors with ties to a local powerful company.

The law director at the time now serves as in house counsel to the same powerful company.

SamAdams

The ethics charge against Finn was made based on allegations of a conflict of interest. Finn hired on as a consultant to another city in Ohio for which he received a fee. The problem? His consultation had nothing to do with Sandusky. He consulted entirely on his own time. Oh, and did I mention? He ASKED before he did it.

If there was any quid pro quo, I don't know about it, but then most of us wouldn't. Would it surprise me if you were right about that, too? Nope, sadly, it wouldn't.

Centauri

"On the other hand you may be correct. Perhaps Finn was set up on the ethics charge to get him out of the way for Baxter and his company which included investors with ties to a local powerful company."

The Ohio powers that be protect their own. Perhaps Finn was set up because he didn't want to go along? Perhaps Finn was not prosecuted because he had dirt on others?

http://tinyurl.com/nwspxok
News about Finn

http://ww2.gazette.net/gazette_a...

http://web.naplesnews.com/media/...

http://forum.ncnlocal.com/bb/vie...

The above links are about Finn. There are more if the readers want to search the internet.

I bet that Finn had a lot of information on the powers that be who control what went on behind closed doors in Sandusky, Ohio. I don't blame him for moving out of corrupt Ohio.

T. A. Schwanger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?fea...

Finn and freedom of speech

gramafun

why don't they just fire her and get it over with. That should satisfy all the people who so desperately want her out of this job. Then the city can waste MORE taxpayer money on a new search for a city manager and we can go through another stupid seek and destroy mission like the one the city did for a police chief that will end up JUST like the police chief thing did. Who does the SR, Poole and Cole have in mind this time for City Manager? Oh, please don't tell me its TA Schwanger or Haag. I want to see this city get something done besides "green spaces" and parks. Could we at least get someone who knows something about city planning and is QUALIFIED to run a city this time? I hope so...not just someone good at math, but someone who is TRAINED in city work. Not just good at running a business. No offense to the two mentioned but it takes more than running a business or a committee to run a city. I don't think they realize that and playing at it with the paper's favorite commissioners isn't going to get it done either. One of them is going to be out of a job come November.

So if Ard goes, lets get a real trained city manager who is worth the pay or worth a REDUCED PAY SCALE until they prove themselves.

pavedparadise

Isn't Ard trained and considered a "professional" City Manager?

Take a good look at where we are 18 months after hiring the City Manager. What new ideas and programs has she brought forth? The only programs and projects being worked on are those already on the books prior to her hiring.

OSUBuckeye59

I've previously taught numerous classes, with two subject areas of note being in Performance Management and writing good Requirements Documents. When I read Ms. Ard's contract, I cringed.

Section 12: Performance Evaluation. The Employer will endeavor to annually review the performance of the Employee subject to a process, form, criteria and format for the evaluation which shall be mutually agreed upon by the Employer and Employee at or near Employee's Anniversary date.

"shall endeavor" is not definitive, meaning there is absolutely zero requirement for the Employee to be annually reviewed. From a management standpoint, I don't know that I've ever seen review criteria where the Employee must agree on a process, form, criteria and format for their review, and I would offer it is not good management practice to allow for an employee to say yes/no on process, form, criteria and format. Management needs to develop the review & delivery process. Following is a suggested rewrite of the first sentence: "The Employer is required to conduct an annual review of the Employee's performance utilizing a clearly defined, documented and communicated evaluation process, form, criteria and format. The annual review is required to be completed within a two week time frame of the Employee's Anniversary date."

And by the way, with Ms. Ard's contract language written as it is, her public dispute in March of any notion that she’s required to receive an evaluation does, unfortunately, have some merit.

Also in Section 12: "The final performance evaluation should be completed and delivered ...". Again, not definitive.

"Employer shall provide the Employee a reasonable and adequate opportunity to discuss with the Commission and/or respond to the Employee's evaluation." Who defines what is a "reasonable and adequate opportunity"?

In summary, Ms. Ard's employment contract as written has serious flaws. There are simply too many ambiguous terms she or her lawyer can exploit to Ms. Ard's advantage.

2Timothy1-7

You make many excellent points. So who was responsible for drafting the contract, reviewing the contract, and recommending the Commission execute the contract? Might it be the City Law Director?

This ambiguous contract proves my earlier point about the law director. He's creating work for other lawyers.

OSUBuckeye59

2Timothy, I haven't the foggiest who wrote the contract, but if the law director was involved, then you are correct: he's now creating work for other lawyers.

I'm not a lawyer, but I do know how to write clear, concise, and complete documentation. It wouldn't take much to rewrite the City Manager's contract with clear, concise and complete language.

Centauri

OSU, thank you for posting your comments. I found this online employment agreement that is not signed. It might take a couple of minutes to down load the document.

http://ci.sandusky.oh.us/city-co...