Ard faces tough questions

Sandusky city manager Nicole Ard found herself on the hot seat Monday after commissioners questioned her management abilities and later conducted a private meeting about — but without — her.
Andy Ouriel
Jan 14, 2014


“We had a discussion about the city manager’s performance” said ex officio mayor Dennis Murray Jr. following the hourlong, closed-door meeting. “There is going to be another executive session to continue that discussion”

Commissioners plan to reconvene behind closed doors at 5 p.m. Thursday in City Hall to continue talking about Ard.    Ohio law allows elected officials to enter an executive session and discuss, among other things, an employee’s dismissal, discipline or demotion.

The private meeting came after a lengthy public session, when commissioners appeared puzzled and frustrated trying to understand documents Ard prepared in addressing Sandusky’s looming $1.1 million shortfall.

General confusion stemmed from a three-page memo Ard presented, outlining some cuts to offset the red ink. The memo appeared brief in nature and short on specifics.

“It doesn’t make sense what you are saying,” commissioner Naomi Twine said about how Ard determined a certain savings through health care.

Murray piggybacked off Twine’s concerns, asking Ard to explain exactly how much the city can save if employees subscribing to Sandusky’s health care plan contribute more.

Ard said the city’s insurance consultants advised her a savings seemed unrealistic. She then suggested any money saved would funnel back into the company’s coffers, rather than Sandusky’s budget.

Murray, however, didn’t seem happy with her answer, asking Sandusky law director Don Icsman to research this because Ard’s statement “doesn’t initially seem to ring true to me”

Furthermore, the document Ard provided didn’t fulfill a request made by commissioners more than a month ago.

Commissioners asked Ard to prioritize city services and provide a cause-and-effect document, indicating possible ramifications if certain cuts or layoffs actually happened in specific departments.

But Ard, responsible for formulating a budget and related plan, failed to include these details in her presentation.

“We ask her to do very little and she has done less,” commissioner Dick Brady said.

The simple task seemed easy enough, commissioner Wes Poole said.

“We need to address the management of how we spend our money and how we utilize our people,” Poole said. “I want to know what the downside is if we cut”

Watch the entire city commission meeting in the player below



I'd say it's time to look for a new job!

Stop It

A song comes to mind and it's just this part:"...bye, bye miss american pie..."

Julie R.

That song also comes to my mind but it's just this part:

" .... them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye ...... the courtroom was adjourned -- no verdict was returned ..... and I saw Satan laughing with delight the day the music died."


Ah yes, the perennial grand conspiracy theory of the GOB.


She can't put together something that a college student is expect to be able to complete.

I'll do her job for $85,000. There, I just saved the city $40,000/year. You can hire back a firefighter now.

The Bizness

I actually think half of the commentators on here would do a fine job of running this city, and yes that includes Contango.


I approve of this message...


Say it isn't so!!!!


You have to wonder how qualified she is for the job and how well she was vetted. She is in over her head.


Vetted? LOL. This was nothing more than an affirmative action hire. Qualifications weren't a consideration.


LOL what a joke..hopefully changes are a coming :)


Good Lord and for this she is paid $126,000/year! Wake up people!

Whiskey Tango F...

First and foremost, you have already violated her number one rule!!!
#1. Any requests for her to do anything other than the following:
A. Breathe air
B. Increase in diameter
C. Cash large paychecks
D. Any form of decision making for which she could be held accountable,
MUST and we repeat MUST go through her attorney.

Fear not citizens! The magnificent Dick Brady is back to make HIS personal decision right by the voters! If anyone knows how to handle a crybaby that sues when they don't get their way... It's Sandusky's own little Dick Brady!

Tsu Dho Nimh

Huron is looking for an assistant city manager.

Darwin's choice

Could you see her and AAAAAndy working together???!!!

That would be a hoot!!


Yeah, but the $30K/yr salary for that position is more in line with her qualifications and skill set.




Ms. Ard...I have a suggestion for a budget about instead of you getting paid $126,000 a year, you get paid what you a worth...minimum wage.


Told you people need someone from THIS area. Not Ard.


minimum wage? She would be way OVER paid. If she made what she was worth , she would be paying the city every week.


Like the old saying: "There is a new sheriff in town" and alas that is the new city commission. I would say Ard is on her way out. Sandusky sure does go thru the city managers. Strange too as Sandusky spends so many dollars and so much time looking for one but rare is the one that actually can do the job.


Like the old saying: "There is a new sheriff in town" and alas that is the new city commission. I would say Ard is on her way out. Sandusky sure does go thru the city managers. Strange too as Sandusky spends so many dollars and so much time looking for one but rare is the one that actually can do the job.

Julie R.

How do you figure there's a new city commission? Murray was there when the Nuesse fiasco started and so was Don Iscman. Do you really think it was the scapegoat former city manager Matt Kline that was behind that million dollar plus fiasco? What a joke. Attorneys & your COUNTY public officials were behind that, just like attorneys and your county public officials were behind the super expensive MetroParks/Huron River Greenway fiasco. In fact, when you look at the whole picture it's your county public officials and their attorney friends that cause 99% of the train wrecks in Erie County.


"How do you figure there's a new city commission? Murray was there when the Nuesse fiasco started and so was Don Iscman."

The newly elected commissioners' prior terms are irrelevant with regard to Ard - they didn't choose her, and thus they don't have to save face by pretending she's the best thing since sliced bread. They also didn't just finish approving a bogus glowing review of her.

God Of Thunder

You tell em Julie.... Tell them how corrupt all the judges and attorneys are.. They're the reason Ard isn't doing her job..

Julie R.

I don't have to tell how corrupt attorneys and county public officials (including some of the jokes they have for judges) are ----- everybody already knows it!

As for Ard not doing her job ---- who said she wasn't?

my oh my

What FSI and other haulers fail to tell the public is that when they pick trash up in Sandusky or anywhere else in Erie County they are hauling the trash back to Sandusky County landfill.How is this fair to Erie County residents? Think about it people. I know this first hand..


It's well past time SOMEbody besides several on these blogs bother to ask Ard some "tough questions!" Here's one more for you: Why aren't you doing your job??? In my opinion, the answer is all too obvious: She's not doing her job because she's utterly unqualified to do it.

Yes, Sandusky does seem to go through a lot of City Managers. But the problem is less the managers than it is a micro-managing Commission. We've had a couple of managers who actually DID do the job. One ended up being fired over a manufactured tempest in a teapot, and the other left of his own accord after deciding he was sick and tired of beating his head against a brick wall.

Yes, we need yet ANOTHER new City Manager. But this time, Commissioners, take heed: Hire somebody who's QUALIFIED, and then let him/her do the job they were hired to do!

Big Poppy

And I know for a fact that Republic Services halls the trash to Erie Co. Landfill! The recycling they haul back to there place on 101!

Julie R.

Ever wonder why Huron doesn't go through city managers like Sandusky does?


Accountability and honesty should be expected from both the manager and commission. When you have both, managers keep their jobs and commissioners are happy to discuss city business with the voters.

Julie R.

I'm surprised that Murray even told Nicole Ard about the private meeting they were going to have without her presence. That sure isn't how it works at the Erie County courthouse. The lawyers and the lawyers in the black robes have private meetings there, too, but the illegal meetings are kept a secret.