Nicole Ard fired

Sandusky city commission votes 4-3 to terminate city manager's employment
Register
Mar 29, 2014

 

In a divided but decisive vote, city commissioners Friday fired Sandusky’s highest-ranking and top-paid employee.

Effective immediately, commissioners voted 4-3 to terminate city manager Nicole Ard. They also voted 4-3 to appoint city law director Don Icsman as interim city manager.

Ex officio mayor Dennis Murray Jr. and commissioner Jeff Smith volunteered to spearhead an in-house process to find a new city manager. The city manager is effectively a government’s version of a CEO, overseeing daily services, such as police and fire, and reporting to commissioners.

“This is a difficult decision for the commission,” Murray said. “Ms. Ard is a very nice person, and I regret that I am going to cast a ‘yes’ vote, but it is time to move the city in a different direction”

Joining Murray in favor of termination were commissioners Dick Brady, Wes Poole and Naomi Twine.    The three dissenting votes, boiling down to those wanting Ard to stick around, were cast by commissioners Julie Farrar, Scott Schell and Smith.

Ard, a non-union employee, provided a brief statement to a reporter shortly after the vote.

“I look forward to continuing being a resident here and making a difference here in the community,” Ard said.

When asked to comment on her firing, she said, “I will have to let you talk to the commission about that”

Ard’s firing came two months after commissioners gave her a last-chance agreement to shape up or ship out. In a nutshell, the last-chance agreement outlined many of the deficiencies commissioners perceived in Ard’s performance since she began in fall 2011.

Chief among them: She mishandled legal, disciplinary and termination proceedings, costing city taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. The most glaring issues involved firing at least four police officers, only to have each one ordered to return. In all cases, an independent judge or neutral third party mandated these officers return to Sandusky’s force — with back pay — after Ard or someone she worked with botched the termination process.

The document, drafted in January, indicated that if she didn’t improve in 60 days commissioners could fire her.

On Friday, that’s what the majority decided to do.

Going away pay?
A stipulation in Ard’s employment agreement calls for her to receive six months of pay if she’s fired within a six-month period once a new commission enters office. This commission’s current two-year term started in January.

Ard, who earns about $129,000 a year, would then be entitled to about $64,500, per her deal’s termination clause.

It’s no guarantee she’ll receive this money, said Murray, who’s a partner in the Murray & Murray law firm.

“I don’t believe one commission has the ability to bind the hands of another commission” Murray said.

New hope
Ard is just the latest casualty in Sandusky’s apparent failure in selecting city managers. Matt Kline, Ard’s predecessor, was fired in November 2009 for allegedly making racist remarks and for breaching his fiduciary duty to the city.

Between Kline and Ard, Icsman served as the temporary city manager, convincing commissioners to once again have him serve in this interim role.

Murray vowed to find a person capable of running the government efficiently and transparently.

“The city has a lot of problems it needs to address, with some of those problems predating Ms. Ard’s tenure,” Murray said. “We need to move on some of those issues that have been neglected for a while. We have a lot of people interested in being the city manager of Sandusky. Now that this position is available, let’s move forward and see who it is”

Watch the vote in the player below

Comments

FantasticFred

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

From the Grave

This is all much funnier than ANY sitcom on TV!

EdO's

The commissioners should be fired for hiring her in the first place. She didn't have the experience or the credentials.

Dilligaff

She sure as hell wasn't worth 129k a year.

JERRY from SANDUSKY

She sure as hell wasn't worth 129k a year.

No job in this city is worth more than 100,000 let's get real this town is small and broke.

sandusky2012

how much does she from being fired?

No Wake

Very.

Unassumer

what?

Fordman

About Time

margaritaville88

Anyone else sick of the same lame picture of failure?

reader

The Cleveland Browns of city government.....

Peninsula Pundit

Hey!
At least there's hope for the Browns.

holysee

Details? Afraid of lawsuits?
What do you call it when important details are kept from the public as a routine part of govenment protocol?
Gag orders, redactions, confidentiality agreements, lost paper trials etc, etc.

KnuckleDragger

Really doesn't matter. Read the city charter, the city manager is an at will employee that serves at the leisure of the city council. This means they can be terminated for any reason, or nor reason at all.

Little Giant

Does that mean Don Icsman gets another raise? I remember when he was interim before and his salary increased. It was never disclosed if his salary went back down to the original level when Ard was hired.

JMOP's picture
JMOP

Gotta hand it to Ard for sitting there straight faced without emotion. I'd be breaking down in tears feeling like I failed everyone.

Unassumer

oh please.

sandusky2012

i wonder if SPD walked her out of the building?

Unassumer

you know someone did.

sandusky2012

with her being fired can we hire some of those firefighters back?

Steve P

Her biggest mistake, not having the management of the Register on speed dial.

A Young Adult's...

I do not know her personally, but to sit behind a computer screen and attack her for the job that she did is unbelievably immature. It is easy to sit behind a computer screen and criticize someone. It is difficult to understand that you have zero clue as to whether she performed well or not. The commissioners like to choose a city manager that they can manipulate.

In my opinion, this city manager-commissioner structure is the bottleneck to efficient government (yes, there is such thing believe it or not). This form of government will only take you as far as the commissioners' egos will allow it.

Little Giant

Yeah other than writing the city budget on a piece of scrap paper, botching a few terminations and virtually being invisible in the community..... she was doing a great job!

A Young Adult's...

Check your reading comprehension skills, Little Giant. Not once did I say she was doing a great job.

Little Giant

You are correct it is easy to sit behind a computer screen and attack others.

Truth2u

LOL !!!
If there were "Like" buttons this would get one

Nemesis

"Not once did I say she was doing a great job."

No, you just attacked people for acknowledging that she wasn't.

KnuckleDragger

Uh, she is being attacked for the job she DIDN'T do, not the job that she did.

Unassumer

you are absolutely right.

Retiredfirefighter

I think the final nail in her firing was the loss of those 4 firefighter positions. She should have had the for thought to tell the commissioners to set aside money. Little giant i agree with you. We need to goto a strong mayor/city council form of government.

DEATHnTAXES

Oh brother. Wasn't the grant for the 4 firefighters received prior to Ard becoming City Manager? The day the grant was received, the City Manager at the time and City Commission should have started planning how to fund after the grant ran out.

bigdad1205

More litigation for the city. Can't wait to see how the search for the next one. Maybe a dart board?

WhatTheHeck

You can thank Dick Brady for her 129k salary. Remember he was sent in to find the last city manager (Ard). That's ok, he gets a do-over now. Why not use some of Ard's salary to keep our fire station on the west side open?

DEATHnTAXES

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

my oh my

She didn't lose the ff positions the fire department and IAFF lost those positions...

holysee

An attack on unions no doubt?
See "Inequlity For All" on netflix to verify the idiocy of your statement.

donutsh0pguy

You Simpleton it was the union that wrote the grant to get the firefighters after the city laid off the firefighters the first round of layoffs. It was Murray who got rid of the firefighters this time.

my oh my

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained A duplicate post.

holysee

An attack on unions no doubt?
See "Inequlity For All" on netflix to verify the idiocy of your statement.

KnuckleDragger

Yes union greed has sure helped people get ahead in this era. LMAO! Union/socialist policies do much to make people equal...equally poor/miserable. Things must be just groovy looking through those rose colored glasses.

JMOP's picture
JMOP

Yes. Look up a movie/doc reference to gain credible knowledge, because we all know there's not an agenda attached to it.

Excuse me while I'll laugh.

MJKSON44

Please explain how the fire dept and the IAFF lost those positions? This should be interesting......

Darkhorse

With the condition of the budget, the city must fork over $60,000 and hope they don't get sued after the final payment has been made to Ard. Ard cost the city a lot of money and she is still going to cost us money. Will her settlement be sealed so the public will never know what the payoff really was to her.

reader

?

Matt Westerhold

Former commissioner Pervis Brown. 

reader

.

reader

"

WhatTheHeck

AMEN, Reader I love you! Now you know who Matt is trying to protect. Reminds me of Kaman days when he was in charge of spear heading Police Chief Lucy or whatever her name was. Watch Kaman run again, the voters need to quit voting these Commisioners in with conflict of interest. This is one of the top 10 reasons why our city can not get anything done. Why don't we go to 3 commissioners and a young fresch attorney with new ideas to protect us from all these law suits.

reader

.

Ralph J.

Maybe the problem was with Iscman who provides legal assistance to Ard. Maybe Iscman is the one who should have been fired years ago. How many city managers does Sandusky have to go through?

http://www.ci.sandusky.oh.us/Law...

Babo

Ding Ding Ding...we have a winner! Also, don;t forget all the money wasted on outside legal counsel because Icsman is not qualified to handle even basic legal issues.

Ralph J.

Maybe hire outside lawyers should be added to The Law Director’s responsibilities.

The Law Director’s responsibilities include:

Serves as general legal counsel to the City Manager, City Commission and all City Departments, boards and commissions.


Preparation of ordinances and resolutions for City Commission.


Preparation of wide variety of legal documents for all of the City’s internal departments.


Gives legal advice and prepares legal opinions on questions of law posed by city officials in their official capacity.

•Administers the Prosecutor’s Office.

•Act as employment officer to farm out legal work to private lawyers.

Darkhorse

Wasn't there something in Ard's contract that she could not be fired right after a new commission was seated?

milemarkerzero

OK, I'm just going to throw this out there. Do you realize how many of the most recent City Manager's have been fired? To my best recollection, the only one that wasn't fired within the last decade actually quit. I do remember he left us with something worse than an STD prior to leaving. I'm sure he is still laughing over that one.

Ralph J.

Ard's employment contract

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

lifetimeresident

Is Mr. Will coming back?

worddrow811

Maybe she could go to Huron and apply there for a job so their city manager will stop spending money to make the town pretty instead of safe!

Ralph J.

Maybe Ard refused to go along with the good old boys club. Those good old boys like puppets so they can pull the strings. Next candidate for Sandusky city manager will be Howdy Doody.

Nemesis

Ah yes, the perennial grand conspiracy theory of Sandusky, the mysterious good ole boys' club, made up of those who are never named.

Got your tinfoil hat, Ralph?

Babo

I was thinking more along the line of Mr. Jing a Ling..you know the "keeper of the keys" at the old Halle's department store. His character resembles the puppet master.

sugar

She probably has been expecting this. We need to do something different on this city. Not one of those who voted to fire her has an ounce of credibility. I don't know whether she was doing her job but I do know who is sitting on the city commission, over inflated egos.

Archetype

Not sure on the exact date of Scott Schell's swearing in to the commission, but it appears as though Ms. Ard will be receiving about 11 months of severance...6+5

colverdi

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Bada Bing

Wait for it wait for it......$$$$$ to Ard!

Bada Bing

Wait for it wait for it......$$$$$$ for Ard!

my oh my

Its all public record our salaries and such for anyone of us in the public service arena...

Dr. Information

Called this one when she was given her last warning. I knew it would only be a matter of months. She didn't do her job so she was canned.

Bada Bing

Finially!

Ralph J.

How well did Icsman do as a city manager? What were his evaluations. I do recall that Icsman got extra pay for being both the law director and also city manager. Was his pay reduced once Ard was hired?

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

sandusky2012

i bet ya one of murrays cronies will be selected maybe someone from consenco?

Rosa

I have not heard of one thing she has accomplished so maybe there should be no city manager??!! Use her salary for the fire dept, but still raise the C P admissions tax.

sandusky2012

lets just go to a mayor ward system let the voters decide get an injunction to stop the process of city manager after all the commish wants to downsize the commish anyways .. lets start this process now!!

sandusky2012

lets just go to a mayor ward system let the voters decide get an injunction to stop the process of city manager after all the commish wants to downsize the commish anyways .. lets start this process now!!

DEATHnTAXES

Here's an idea.

How about we elect the City Manager rather than have one appointed by a bunch of bumbling idiots?

Oh wait, that was tried two years ago through a ballot issue and failed. Should someone lead another effort?

Truth or Dare

Wasn't she just honored for being a First?! Call me crazy, but the way I feel she should have been spearheading a raise in the Admission Tax with at least 5 Commissioners behind her. I'm with Retiredfirefighter, yet when push comes to shove with the form of government we have the buck still stops at the top.

JohnDorian12

I'm wondering why anyone would be surprised by this?? Ard did things one way, HER way regardless of what anyone thought , the City Commission included. But now you have commissioners in there who aren't afraid to speak up, unlike the "sheep" Jeff smith and Julie farrar.....she's gone because she spent the city's money on foolish things...and refused to answer for her mistakes....I wish her luck in her next job, hope she learned some things

Julie R.

Baxter & Co. has something in the works for Sandusky. It's why Murray ran for city commissioner again.

SanduskyGuardian

I am curious as to where she stood on the admissions tax increase proposal. I wonder if she supported it along with Schell, Ferrar and that spineless Smith, and if that is what cost her her job.

lifetimeresident

Sorry to bring up Race, but I was very surprised that the 2 non-caucasions voted against her. Thats not good. I think that speaks for itself. Time for a change, AGAIN.

Julie R.

I heard through the grapevine that another one of your many fired city managers (Matt K.) got a job in another city making more than he made as the city manager in Sandusky. Obviously, employers don't put any stock at all into what goes on in Sandusky, Ohio. Kim Nuesse is another good example.

SamAdams

It seems simple enough to me: Ard didn't do the job. She got fired as a result. And don't pretend that she DID do the job! She scribbled a nebulous multi-million dollar budget on a single sheet of paper. The Finance Committee complained about her (and that's a committee filled with professionals). Her communications skills were sorely lacking where the public is concerned. She didn't sit down with the Law Director's office and botched a couple of terminations. And who knows WHAT else she failed to do (or did badly) behind the scenes?

Her failure in general isn't complicated, either. The City hired the wrong candidate when it hired Ard. The real advantage of a City Manager over a Mayor is that City Managers have an education geared toward managing municipalities. A Mayor may have experience running a business, but s/he sure won't have experience or expertise running a City! While there are similarities I'd like to see honored (like fiscal responsibility and efficiency), there are enough differences that it can cause real trouble for a town. Mix politics and transparency to the public into that, and it can be a recipe for disaster! (And remember, just because somebody gets the most votes, it doesn't mean they'll be any good at the job -- look at some of the Commissioners we've elected and you'll see the point all too clearly!)

I'm not one of those who objects to a City Manager. In fact, I support it. But it's imperative that Commissioners actually hire the most QUALIFIED candidate, not the one who makes politically correct sense at the time. And it's just as crucial that, after hiring him or her, Commissioners LET THE MANAGER DO THE JOB!

Yes, Ard has been a problem. But let's not pretend she caused the problem! After all, it was the Commissioners who hired the wrong candidate, who exacerbated the problem with micro-management, and who let the problem get out of hand by failing to take appropriate action a whole lot earlier!

Dr. Information

To many complaints from different departments and a manager who looks and works lazy = justified firing. Next.

holycow

Didnt the commissioners hire her . If so I would not be too excited about letting them lead the process again

TKeegan73's picture
TKeegan73

I'm not a resident of Sandusky,OH but I have been following all the stories and it looks like the Sandusky Commissioners had every reason to terminate her position with the City of Sandusky. In all honesty, if you have been following everything from about 2 years ago, the City Commissioners have failed their duties as well and I would question their ability to properly interview and hire a new "City Manager" because they definitely botched this one up. In my opinion, not that it really matters, I think Sandusky needs to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. Remove everyone in office that has any say so over the City Manager's position and hire in people that know what they are doing because the problem runs much deeper than Ard! If Cedar Fair decided to pack up and move Cedar Point the City of Sandusky would go completely under, the tax revenue from Cedar Point is the only thing keeping that City afloat. I think moving Cedar Point to a more thriving community would increase their attendance and most definitely increase their profits because a thriving community wouldn't have the need to tax them to death to keep their City afloat....JMHO

Little Giant

Taxing them to death? Their customers are paying a 3% admission tax. Many other similar places are charging 8% to 10%. To suggest that they would just pack up and move sounds completely ignorant considering the time money and tradition. Do you actually think they would spend hundreds of millions to move so that they don't have to pay a couple more million a year?

Nor'easter

Cedar Point does NOT pay the admissions tax. It is a tax on admissions and is paid by the people that choose to enter. It has NEVER and WILL NEVER be paid by CEDAR POINT. The person who pays is the person who consciously decides to buy an admission to whatever facility the desire to enter. You pay 7.75% tax when you eat at a restaurant. This 8% admissions tax would pay to repair streets, maintain water capacity for 250,000 people in a town of 25,000, repave path to Cedar Point, pay for additional fire and police demands created by 3.8 million visitors annually and allow city to comply with EPA mandates that are over 25 years in arrears.

donutsh0pguy

Are you even a resident of this planet?? Yeah Cedar Point is going to pack everything up and move it. As soon as Dick Brady walks on the moon they will! Simpleton lets break this down for you.

1) an admission tax will not cost Cedar Point a dime.
2) The Millions they would have to spend to move everything would not be cost effective.
3) They already have other parks in other cities.
4) This park makes tons of money why close it.

As for increasing their profit that is what is wrong with corporate America lets increase the profit for the shareholders but keep the money from the people that make the company prosper the worker.

By the way change your ending from JMHO to JMDAO

"Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

April 5th, 11 am Mr. Smith's Coffee time to make a change the commissioner do not have the guts to do.

Nemesis

Two words, Donut: Geauga Lake.

Due to a hostile community that hurt profitability, two successive park chains, gradually disinvested until the second one, Cedar Fair, closed the gates and cannibalized the assets for their other parks.

donutsh0pguy

What are you a Nemesis a half-wit comparing Cedar Point to that glorified carnival Geauga Lake.

People do not believe the hype that Cedar Point is going to cannibalize all of their assets for other parks.

Nemesis

Geauga Lake had 10 major coasters, including 1 that incorporated a cuttng edge concept that CP to this day lacks. In the last 20 years, they got at least one of the hot new rides that CP didn't, even though CF featured the same ride as the premier addition at their SoCal park the same year. After acquiring the neighboring Sea World, they had a major attraction that CP not only didn't have, but was legally barred from having.

In the late 70's, they gave serious consideration to bulldozing the entire park for a new housing subdivision. That was when they only had ONE park, and doing so would have meant the end of the entire enterprise. Now CP is one part of a chain of parks, many of which are in locations made much more profitable by climate. The last big proxy battle at Cedar Fair centered largely on one faction's desire to move the headquarters (with about 150 jobs, mind you) out of Sandusky and stop concentrating resources on CP. The executive contingent with strong ties to this community has been mostly ushered into retirement.

It wouldn't happen overnight. They would slowly shift investment to another park, like King's Island (where there's much more room for expansion) until that park started garnering the awards CP usually gets. Keep in mind that Northern Ohio used to have at least 5 parks, and two of them were driven under by friction with their host communities.

I've been around enough to see you tax-and-spend types kill the goose that laid the golden egg many times by driving businesses out of communities. Your little group jumped straight to the insanity of 8%, which hands the commission clowns an instant $4 million surplus AFTER reversing the recent cuts,which which they are guaranteed to spend on building a new Taj Mahal City Hall. How will you follow an act like that - maybe with a petition to give Gunner twice what he asked for in the Perkins levy so he can build his new ego edifice campus?

There are plenty of communities that do OK on an income tax rate similar to Sandusky's, WITHOUT any big entertainment venues upon which to impose parasitic industry specific taxes.

Babo

Yes, but you missed the fact that CP doesn't pay the Admissions Tax, the customers pay the tax. Also, by raising the Admissions Tax, the income tax could be reduced or eliminated.

The biggest problem in my opinion is that Sandusky is completely opposite of Geauga County. Far from looking desirable, the city looks like a combat zone. A family member from the East Coast was in town and we tried to drive into downtown Sandusky to have lunch.
I asked her why do you think Sandusky has trouble attracting people downtown? Her response: It's difficult to find and the area looks like a ghetto.

T. A. Schwanger

###

@ Nemesis

Exactly right. Why should the Admissions Tax be nearly tripled to give elected leaders temptations to continue squandering money on non-essentials.

The City budget has been steady at $16 million for close to a decade yet every year a decision is made to increase the "carryover" balance--now $4 million up, significantly from $3 million in recent memory--artificial "deficit financing".

Nemesis

@Schwanger:"Exactly right. Why should the Admissions Tax be nearly tripled to give elected leaders temptations to continue squandering money on non-essentials."

Tim gets it - giving extra money to politicians is like giving a whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

"The City budget has been steady at $16 million for close to a decade yet every year a decision is made to increase the "carryover" balance--now $4 million up, significantly from $3 million in recent memory--artificial "deficit financing"."

Can you say slush fund? It seems they're determined to come up with the money to move city hall even if they have to do it Iran-Contra/Gunner'sNewCampus style, but that won't be necessary because, by hinting at an income tax increase they know would never succeed at the ballot box, they were able to manipulate these guys to be their unwitting shills for the real prize - an instant $4 million windfall. The commissioners are playing these folks like a Stradivarius.

Nemesis

@Babo:

"Yes, but you missed the fact that CP doesn't pay the Admissions Tax, the customers pay the tax."

First of all, that's provably false. If the city had to directly collect it from the customers at the gate, that process would cost more than the tax brings in. Cedar Fair reports gate sales and writes the city a check for 3% of that amount, and they may pass that cost on to the customer, or absorb it at their discretion. Second, it's all fungible, and no matter how you spin it, it has a negative impact on the park's profitability.

"Also, by raising the Admissions Tax, the income tax could be reduced or eliminated."

Dream on. If you believe the Commissioners will EVER willingly give up existing revenue, I have a bridge to sell you.

"The biggest problem in my opinion is that Sandusky is completely opposite of Geauga County. Far from looking desirable, the city looks like a combat zone."

Well, for starters, Geauga County has its own ghetto - it's called Chagrin Falls Park, and it was created by liberal tax and spend do-gooders, just like every other ghetto in the country, but what's your point? How is maximizing the admissions tax (I support an increase to 4%, which is enough to restore the current cuts and balance the budget) supposed to make Sandusky look and feel less like a ghetto? If you give the commissioners a $4 milllion surplus, just what do you think they will do with it? I'll tell you - they'll build a fancy new city hall downtown, and then spend the rest on freebies that benefit those who make the city look and feel like a ghetto, which only attracts and encourages more of the same. It would be fascinating to hear you explain how an 8% admissions tax and an instant $4 million budget surplus can somehow cause the crowd that turns DJ's into a shooting gallery every weekend decide to reform their lives and become productive contributing members of society, or how it's going to get a bunch of 8th graders to take more interest in algebra than breeding the next generation of the underclass. Please tell us how getting all punitive toward the tourists who inject money into the local economy is going to inspire a change in those locals who suck resources out of it. By all means, tell us how all those who've committed shootings in Sandusky have declared that, if Sandusky would only have taxed the tourists more, they'd all be graduating from Ivy-league schools as valedictorians right now.

Babo

Your facts are not accurate. The admissions tax like a sales tax that you pay every time you purchase dine in food, clothing, personal hygiene products etc. is collected from the consumer by the business at the point of transaction and then paid to the taxing authority. Yes, any business can chose to advertise through a sale that it will pay the tax for you through a deduction in its retail price but it still must collect the tax from the consumer and pay the tax to the taxing authority.

Further, the only affect an admissions tax like a sales tax has on a company's profitability is if the tax is so high it stops people from purchasing the service or product. Does the 7.75% sales tax prevent you or anybody from spending money on non essential purchases such as dining at a restaurant? It is no different with a non essential purchase such as recreation or amusement.

An increase to 8% in a state that consumers already expect to pay over 7% in sales tax will not lead to any loss of customers for Cedar Point. In fact, Cedar Point consumers are presently under taxed at 3% and no sales tax as compared to most other businesses which must collect over 7% in sales taxes on their products or services.

I don't advocate passing an Admissions Tax increase to 8% without a reduction or total elimination of the income tax. The point is to make Sandusky attractive to new businesses and productive residents.

You do that in part by eliminating income taxes, so that businesses and residents want to live and work in Sandusky. Extra money is used not to move city hall, but to develop attractive streets and traffic patterns, parks and a coordinated theme to development. In effect you create a "lifestyle" area in an already existing space.

Right now, Sandusky is a "flyover" zone for tourists and very few would consider spending time or money. However, as another poster noted the City is saddled with all of the costs associated with providing the infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, power, safety forces) to 3.8 million customers who pay less than half the rate of sales taxes by everybody. It is unfair to the residents and other businesses of the City to subsidize through corporate welfare (lower tax burden) the customers of Cedar Point while their quality of life deteriorates.

Nemesis

It's interesting how DonutShopGuy becomes a tax and spend leftist as long as someone other than him is paying the tax.

donutsh0pguy

Nemesis, just another reason why you are a SIMPLETON. You just proved NOTHING!!
Geauga Lake, and the other five amusement parks went away for reasons you never disclosed, but one thing is for certain they didn't leave because admission tax was to high.

Another thing to ponder why would Cedar Fair get rid of their name sake Cedar Point. As for your 70's reference I am 100% sure they were not raking in the money they are now.

Leave the dark side of being a corporate puppet and join us in wait for it....

"Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

Nemesis

"Geauga Lake, and the other five amusement parks went away for reasons you never disclosed,"

I clearly outlined how Geauga Lake closed because an adversarial local community rendered it less profitable. Your campaign to triple the admissions tax is just another form of the same thing.

"Another thing to ponder why would Cedar Fair get rid of their name sake Cedar Point."

And you call other people a simpleton? Yeah, they'll keep a less profitable unit going just because of its name, right. 95% of CP customers don't even KNOW the name of the corporation, and for every other park they own, 99% have no awareness. Apparently, this issue has sent you so far into marxist class warfare thinking that you've completely forgotten how capitalism works. Businesses do not operate out of the goodness of their hearts, or to honor traditions - they exist to make a profit, a goak to which that namesake status contributes NOTHING. History and far better known names have no value in that equation; just ask anyone who used to have an Oldsmobile or Pontiac dealership.

"As for your 70's reference I am 100% sure they were not raking in the money they are now."

They were profitable at the time. However, that doesn't help if investing the capital elsewhere would be MORE profitable.
"Leave the dark side of being a corporate puppet and join us in wait for it...."
You should leave the dark side of tax and spend class warfare leftism. Who knew you'd turn out just like Big Dog and Coasterfan?

Don't naively assume that politicians mean what they say. Let's break down this little drama.

The city comes up a little less than $1 million short this year, on a budget that's hovered around $16 for quite a few years.

The commissioners start talking about an income tax increase, knowing full well it will have to go to a referendum, and that it won't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing. WHY do you think they would do this? Let's see - it's pretty easy to guess that the simpletons in the city will get all worked up in a lather, and start screaming for the most extreme possible backlash - tripling the admissions tax. So, the commissioners get a revenue increase of $5 million a year, so they can not only close the budget gap, but they get a $4 million slush fund windfall, which they can use to build a shiny new city hall, engage in more misinvestments like the Krunchie Pickle, and/or to buy more votes from the dependent class with giveaways. The best part is, if anyone objects, or if any tourist businesses disinvest, they bear no responsibility for the decision. It's every politician's wet dream - they get a bunch of people who formerly opposed tax increases to fight tooth and nail for a tax increase that will expand their spending by a whopping 25%! Obama should come here and take lessons from them.

Now, if you sat down and thought for a minute, and did the math, rather than storming the barricades with your "PUNISH THE TOURISTS" agitprop, you'd realize that a relatively painless increase of the admissions tax to 4% would more than suffice to comfortably solve the current budget crisis, and give some breathing room for the city to have a serious talk about spending restraint and what is and isn't essential or effective for government to do. But hey, I get it, math and logic are hard. It's so much easier to drink the Kool Aid that everything will be better as long as we get more R's or D's in office, and let them suck as much money out of the private sector to play with as they want, as long as it's someone else they're taxing.

Ralph J.

Perhaps Ard was given bad legal advice by the law director and was doomed to fail?

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

JERRY from SANDUSKY

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Forward Looking

It is going to be hard to get a City Manager w/ this Kangaroo Court. Wonder if this is when we start seeing a change in the city charter to have an elected Mayor? I think that would be better and less at the will of egotistical Commissioners.

Nor'easter

Just don't let Dick Brady run the search like he did last time.

worddrow811

It seems to me that city government is a form of marriage, with each side acting like they are something special to get the other person's approval. They agree to a contract of one form or another and then wham, you find out what they are really like. Divorce then becomes the only option after much soul searching and crying about who did what to whom.

The powers that be were correct in their divorcing themselves from an incompetent person who did not deliver on her job performance. It does not absolve them of their mistakes and they, too, should be held accountable for the mess they helped make in this situation.

kimi43464's picture
kimi43464

It's about time!!!!!!!!! She has done NOTHING for Sandusky. Being NICE doesn't get the job done. Sorry Nicole.

goodtime1212

In the paper today, it states, per a separation deal she is to get 65,000.00 but Murry stated. she may not get that because "I don't believe one commission has ability to bind the hands of another commission." If this is true, is no wonder this city is a mess, every commission can redo everything the old commission did. This is two steps forward and 3 steps back. No wonder the cant find more good people to work in that office.

Julie R.

I predicted back when Kim Nuesse got fired and they started firing all those other Sandusky cops that it was only done to appease the sheep and when the Nuesse fiasco blew over the cops would all get their jobs back --- and I was right.

I then predicted Ard's firing when Murray ran for city commissioner again and when his judge buds Tygh Tone & Roger Binette publicly chastised her --- one because she dared to fire the part-time police officer son of good 'ole boy Randy Glovinsky and the other because the city's out-of-town attorney (brought in by Iscman) supposedly "failed to file the proper paperwork" that led to the reinstatement of another cop. (I still can't believe you sheep fell for that "paperwork" crap)

Face it, people, the more things change in Sandusky the more they stay the same!

Nemesis

"(I still can't believe you sheep fell for that "paperwork" crap)"

This from the one who, until I corrected her, made a habit of referring to legal documents as people.

Julie R.

You lost me on the legal documents as people.

As for the paperwork crap ---- an attorney of all people forgets to file a Certificate of Service that's required with all filings? Yeah, right. They must of had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to come up with that one!

Nemesis

How quickly she forgets.

Ralph J.

Good luck to the next city manager. If I applied to become Sandusky's next city manager and became a finalist, I would look hard at how Sandusky seems to get rid of city managers in the recent past years before I would sign an employee contract. Ard bought her home in early 2012 for $145,000 yet her property valuation shot up to $164,180. Why the increase? Ard pays property taxes and also city income taxes. There are more facts to be told about Ard being fired. Look for a lawsuit coming and Cirigliano coming back to town.

bnjjad

Her property valuation actually decreased. It was originally $175K in 2009 then readjusted. She bought the house for $145K, she actually got a deal if property values are anything to go by on price.

Darkhorse

The city goes through city managers because none of them know how to lead. If the city should get someone really experienced, the person will not have to worry about the swinging door at city hall.

KURTje

Please: if you hire a replacement, hire within Ohio.

Julie R.

So who do you think is next in line for city manager? I predict it will be Don Iscman. In fact, that's probably already settled. I predict Iscman will retire as the law director and then take over as city manager, double-dipping like Baxter and the rest of them. After all, we have to keep the taxpayer monies in the family!

Ralph J.

That sounds about right.

Just a Girl

Please do not allow Mr. Smith to serve on the hiring committee. His lack of judgment/understanding about Ms. Ard's unintelligible tenure is disturbing.

Julie R.

When you look at the whole picture, Erie County now has lawyers from two of the biggest law firms around running two of its cities. Sandusky now has a Murray and in Vermilion the law director is from Baxter & Co.'s favorite Lorain County law firm, who already cost the Erie County taxpayers 3.2 million with the MetroParks case alone!

SamAdams

Julie, in point of fact, the millions of wasted taxpayer dollars in connection with Erie Metroparks has nothing to do with the law firm the parks hired and everything to do with the fact that Erie Metroparks stole land from private citizens.

Lawyers charge what they charge. And while I think it's sometimes quite a bit too much, it's also evident that the total legal costs would have been $0 if Metroparks hadn't committed crimes.

Julie R.

Bull. Notice how even the attorneys for the railroad covered themselves before they sold the property to MetroParks stating they didn't think the railroad even owned the property after they stopped using it --- instead, it went back to the original owners. And all those attorneys in that big Lorain County law firm, the Erie County Common Pleas Court judges, the rent-a-judges, like Cirigliano, and the joke 6th District Court of Appeals didn't know that?

That case, like all shady cases in Erie County, could of been and should of been over before it even began. But hey, as long as they have the taxpayer monies at their disposal, what do they care?

Babo

You can't be this naive Sam. The law firm was responsible for ensuring that Metro Parks had clear title to the land BEFORE litigating the land owners into the ground and overcharging the taxpayers for what turned out to be baseless and frivolous litigation. Just who do you think kept assuring the Metro Parks board that they did have good title and to keep litigating the land owners to death? Also who do you think advised Metro Parks that it was OK for Jim Lang and his park rangers to saw off a deck all the while holding the Coles at bay at gun point WHILE engaged in litigation with them?

It is only because the Coles had the resources to litigate the matter all the way, that title was established. People with lesser resources such as Julie R are at the mercy of unethical firms that abuse the legal system to generate legal fees and misappropriate property knowing that few can go the distance with them.

Finally, I agree they stole people's land with the advice of counsel, so the multi million dollar taxpayer question for Baxter is why hasn't anyone been charged with a crime and why hasn't the law firm that billed all that money unlawfully been forced to repay the county?

SamAdams

You and Julie make a valid point. While I'm sure we ALL agree that, if Metroparks had kept its greedy paws to itself, the legal fees would have totalled ZERO, the lawyers kept it going. Granted, Metroparks could and should have stopped after the first ruling came down against it, but I'm sure the lawyers were just as happy to keep going (and keep billing).

As for the paperwork provided by the railroad, well, I've seen it. And it's clear as a bell: If the property wasn't in use, it reverted to those who held title. The railroad lawyers didn't cover ANYbody's behind with legal terminology or loopholes. Nope. It was all in ordinary and relatively simple language. And what that means is that, lawyers or no lawyers, anybody who can speak and read English should have understood it, and that includes the Metroparks folks who hired the lawyers in the first place.

Babo

Right if it was so clear why did Baxter allow the Metro parks to hire attorneys who told certain Board members what they want to hear?

Again, it is the duty of the county prosecutor to stop illegal payments to attorneys and it was the duty of the law firm hired to tell Board that they did NOT have clear title to the land.

To me it's a matter of some board members creating billings for their friends in return for some unseen benefit, much like the current situation in Sandusky County.

Ralph J.

Portage County Metroparks say that they utilize the county prosecutor.

The Portage Park District is an independent political subdivision of the State of Ohio formed in 1991 with its jurisdiction covering all of Portage County. Although it is independent of County government, the Park District utilizes the services of the Portage County Auditor, Treasurer and Prosecutor, and has received some financial support from the Portage County General Fund upon the discretion of the Portage County Commissioners.

http://portageparkdistrict.org/a...

Ralph J.

Anybody want to wager that a new city manager has already been picked?

Nemesis

I doubt it. They can't decide what to have for lunch without paying a consultant tens of thousands of dollars to conduct a study.

OSUBuckeye59

Ms. Ard being fired is, unfortunately, not a surprise.

What I would like to see in the next City Manager is a person with skills similar to a Biz Ops Mgr in the private sector. I don't think the City Manager has to come from the public sector as an experienced Biz Ops Mgr has what I would believe are the requisite skills to be successful as a CM, namely organizational, communication, financial and personnel management skills, and the knowledge of how to mix and apply all of the above skills at the right time both in Leading and Managing, with the understanding of knowing when it's best to Lead, when it's best to Manage, and when it's best to delegate or simply get out of the way. I also believe the next CM needs to understand how to work with and lead the Commission as well.

Any candidate who's given the opportunity to interview should understand they need to interview the Commission as much as the Commission interviews them, including asking questions such as:
1. How will I be measured as successful?
2. Expectations of results within 3 months, 6 months, 1 year?
3. Have you documented the Roles & Responsibility of a CM? If yes, please provide.
4. Have you created 3 & 5 year Strategic Roadmaps for the city?

The above are just some of the questions I'd pose to those conducting the interviews. In addition, I'd suggest potential candidates develop an Onboarding Transition outline document with major sections the potential CM would plan to complete within their first 30+ days, including, but not limited to:
Strategic Objectives
Key Stakeholder Mapping
Finance Budget Details
Situational Analysis
Core Meetings
Key Success Metrics/Indicators
Current Programs/Projects Status

And 2 attributes of the next CM that I believe need to be rock solid are Communication & Leadership skills. I've learned over the years the importance of Communication, communication, communication. I firmly believe there is no such thing as over-communication. When it comes to Leadership, the CM clearly needs to lead both the City and the Commission in terms of Strategy & Tactical execution. This is where the Organizational and Communication skills are most important.

Nemesis

Someone from the private sector is likely to lack that leftist outlook without which one won't even be considered.

OSUBuckeye59

Ah yes . . . politics.