Ard review at crawl

Documents need signatures from all 7 commissioners
Andy Ouriel
Nov 23, 2013


A sluggish evaluation process, assessing the performance of Sandusky’s top-paid public employee, continues to see delays.

Sandusky commissioners haven’t finalized city manager Nicole Ard’s evaluation yet, a task they should have completed about a year ago, according to Ard’s contract with the city.

The delay centers on her review documents needing signatures from all seven commissioners, city commission clerk Kelly Kresser said.

In mid-October, five of the seven commissioners developed what they called a “consensus” evaluation of Ard. The review — a first for Ard since she arrived in late 2011 — determined she met all 12 goals that had been set for her.

The review contained fewer than 150 words. It made no mention of how she completed these goals, nor was there any documentation to explain the assessment.

The written opinions of commissioners Diedre Cole and Wes Poole — both critical of Ard’s performance — were not included in the evaluation.

The five commissioners who approved the evaluation: Keith Grohe, Jeff Smith, Julie Farrar, Pervis Brown and John Hamilton.

Hamilton, the ex officio mayor whom city voters booted out of office earlier this month, said in September that “nobody” really wanted Poole’s evaluation. Poole submitted his personal evaluation of Ard to commissioners during a private meeting.

Among Ard’s failings, according to Poole:

• She mishandled disciplinary and termination proceedings, costing the city tens of thousands of dollars this year alone.

• She botched the police chief hiring process, which cost $33,000 in taxpayer dollars.

• She intimidates and confuses staff members regarding city business.

• She ignores questions or concerns from community members.

It’s unclear if any of the five commissioners who approved the evaluation even read the dissenting views of Cole and Poole.

Cole contends Ard has put herself in adversarial positions, against the best interests of Sandusky.

“It’s not appropriate for the city manager to demand her bosses talk to her attorney or have to vote to send the review to him,” Cole said. “If she wants her attorney to have a copy, she should just give it to him.”

A provision in Ard’s contract stipulates her salary, about $129,000 a year, could increase based on a favorable performance review. The contract also called for evaluating Ard after working for one full year. The review didn’t occur until several months afterward.

Commissioners, meanwhile, finalized favorable evaluations for two other charter officers: Kresser and law director Don Icsman.

Commissioners are in the process of completing an evaluation of finance director Hank Solowiej.


Erie County Resident

The Commissioners need to get an evaluation rubber stamp made since it is obvious they don't really do one.
See example below.



I thought the evaluation was finalized and it is still on the table. If the commissioners sign off without including Cole and Poole's evaluation, then she gets a raise. If she gets a raise, then the city has no basis for letting her go at a later date and she can sue because they gave her a raise telling her she did a good job. It is a catch twenty-two. I hope the commission doesn't leave it for the new commissioners to mop up on the issue. The commissioners need to go back into executive session and duke it out and come up with some corrective action to be followed up six months from now. If things are not any better, they need to be looking for someone else.


Leaving it for the new commissioners is the only way they can save face. Remember, when they hired her, she was the best thing since sliced bread, was going to solve all the city's problems, heck, at some point one of them might have actually said she'd get rid of ring around the collar and bring back the nickel candy bar.

DEEPsix's picture

wish city, county posted more about the attorneys who misuse their powers in common pleas court and those attorneys who need to be disbarred.... but, its a matter of the state supreme court, and fighting there is like fighting a murray for dock space...


Heck, based on City Commission history of moving at a snail's pace(police chief, engineer and planner) the City Manager review process will still be going on after Ard is either terminated or finds employment elsewhere.