Five of the seven Sandusky city commission candidates either criticized city manager Nicole Ard's work ethic or grilled her recent evaluation process.
About a month ago, city commissioners released the long-anticipated evaluation of Ard, Sandusky's highest-paid official.
The "consensus" review determined in fewer than 150 words that Ard met all 12 goals set for her upon being hired roughly two years ago.
Commissioners approving the process — Pervis Brown, Julie Farrar, Keith Grohe, John Hamilton and Jeff Smith — did not explain their positive review of Ard, nor did they provide any corresponding documentation.
Commissioners Wes Poole and Diedre Cole provided the only dissenting views against Ard. They provided a slew of information suggesting Ard failed to achieve her goals.
Ard's downfall, according to Cole, centers on her non-responsiveness and repeatedly ignoring questions from the community, including executives at local businesses.
The opinions of Poole and Cole were not included in the "consensus" evaluation.
Here's how the seven commission candidates, vying for three open seats in Tuesday's election, weighed in on Ard's job performance and the job review, when asked about it during a recent Register-sponsored political debate:
"My biggest disappointment with the entire process was the one-page (evaluation), basically a title page, that was the entire body of her evaluation. This community deserved a little bit more than a one-page summary. I would have love to have seen a document where each goal was highlighted and exactly how the city manager (fared for each) goal."
— Scott Schell
"I do not believe that Ms. Ard has achieved all of her 12 goals. During the recruitment process, the seven commissioners agreed upon a list of 12 goals as well as attributes and objectives we wanted to see in our next city manager. At $126,000 a year, folks, she should have hit the ground running."
— Diedre Cole, city commissioner
"I don't think the city manager has met the goals that have been set forth for her. With respect to cooperating with local governments, that clearly hasn't happened. When it comes to budget planning and communicating with the public, there hasn't been a lot of effort and she's fallen short. (She has an attitude) of, 'I will not talk to the media. I will not return phone calls. I will once in a while respond in a very controlled environmental (through) an email.' That is not acceptable."
— Dennis Murray Jr.
"I love Ms. Ard, and I think she is doing a good job. Yes, she does have a few rough edges, (but she) came from outside our community and, it's going to take a couple of years to get into the groove with the city."
— John Hamilton, ex officio mayor
"In addition to the city commissioners, the city manager represents the people of this community. When I look for someone to represent me, I want them to be energetic. I want them to be engaged. I want them to be able to communicate. I want them to keep us out of budget trouble. I am not seeing those things. It's unfortunate."
— Naomi Twine
"As a commission, we gave her 12 goals to work on. Has she accomplished those? I don't think so."
— Dick Brady
"The city manager did not fail. The city manager doesn't even have a secretary. This lady is doing (many) tasks without a secretary. Maybe the lady is overworked. If you give her some help, she can do a better job. From what I see, she is doing an excellent job."
— Patricia Ferguson