Darden: City racist, sexist in firing of Ard

“As you publish the notice for a new city manager and you list the requirements, you should also include in it: ‘Women and blacks need not apply. We’re taking the city in a different direction,’”
Andy Ouriel
Apr 15, 2014
A prominent local leader blasted Sandusky commissioners Monday for their recent controversial decision to oust city manager Nicole Ard.

The Rev. Thomas Darden, a black man, told commissioners he believes they fired Ard, a black woman, simply based on her race and sex.

“As you publish the notice for a new city manager and you list the requirements, you should also include in it: ‘Women and blacks need not apply. We’re taking the city in a different direction,’” Darden said.

About 40 people attended Monday’s public meeting, with the majority of them black and supporting Darden’s statements.   

Darden’s criticism stems from a late March decision in which commissioners voted 4-3 to fire Ard. Three of the four commissioners who voted to fire Ard — ex officio mayor Dennis Murray Jr., Dick Brady and Naomi Twine — just began their four-year terms in January.

Monday marked the first public meeting commissioners convened since firing Ard.

“Some of you campaigned the citizens of Sandusky … you presented your platform, and we believed in you and elected you, not knowing you had a hidden agenda” Darden said. “You had in mind that you were (going) to fire the city manager”

Murray responded to Darden by politely disagreeing with his comments.

“I respect your opinions” Murray said. “But I do categorically reject that the decision was based on race and gender. That had no part of my decision or any part of the other three commissioners”

The four commissioners collectively contend they voted to fire Ard solely based on her performance.

Her firing came two months after commissioners gave her a last-chance agreement to either shape up or get shipped out.

In a nutshell, the last-chance agreement outlined many of the deficiencies commissioners perceived in Ard’s performance. If she didn’t show significant improvement in 60 days, commissioners threatened to fire her. They immediately did so once the 60-day period expired.

Darden, a respected area pastor who previously served on commission, believes the city didn’t give Ard a fair shot at succeeding.

He blamed a good portion of Ard’s downfall on commissioners not providing her a secretary. Ard, however, adamantly refused an administrative assistant when commissioners previously wanted to give her one.

In an interview after Monday’s public meeting, Twine — a black woman who voted to fire Ard — dismissed Darden’s viewpoint and said his opinion of commissioners displaying racism and sexism toward Ard “couldn’t be any further from the truth”

“I based my vote on 24 years of public administration experience,” said Twine, a full-time executive assistant to the Ohio Veterans Home superintendent.

The four commissioners who voted to fire Ard: Murray, Brady, Twine and Wes Poole, a black man.

The three commissioners who wanted to keep her are all white: Julie Farrar, a woman, Scott Schell and Jeff Smith.

Commissioners are moving forward in their quest to find a new city manager. It’s unknown when they’ll hire one.

With a salary of about $129,000 a year, Ard was the city’s highest-paid employee.


Dwight K.

Oh my god here we go again.....


I wish I was born black so I could blame the white man for everything. Does this guy realize how STUPID he sounds for blaming it on race?




I am glad you are not Black. Lucky us!


This guy is just an Al sharpton/ Jessie Jackson wannabe. Without race issues he would be a nobody, so he stirs the pot every chance he gets.


Why do whites always bring up sharpton and jesse. It obvious you hate anybody who goes against mainstream America or the white way as some would say.

Dr. Information

why do blacks us the race card every time they do not get their way?


Youll never get a real answer to that, but we ALL know the real answer, because it works EVERY TIME


I just wonder what took so long for the race/sexist card to be played? Was Tom out of town? Can somebody point out one positive project that Ard accomplished? Just one project that moved the City ahead. Man is it quiet out there.

From the Grave

Why is he wasting his time~she wasn't even from Sandusky, was she? He should have questioned her hiring in the first place. You need to be a lifelong resident to understand the unique needs of this city/area. Why the African-American community supports African-Americans who don't deserve support is a big mystery to me.


She got what she deserved! She appeared to be a disservice to the people of Sandusky. I can't believe it took that long to get rid of her!


From what I heard of Ard - she did't do her job. That doesn't matter if she was black, white or purple, male, female, transgender.

From the Grave

Well, maybe not purple.


Talk about over playing the race card. If anything, Ard was given extra leniency.


How so?


Ard wasn't doing her job the only thing she did was fire a cop who in my opinion was a justified firing. Like I said before everything is not about race.

Whiskey Tango F...

She was hired based on color and sex, why not fired? Accusing Mr. Poole of being black? Are you sure? This is gonna get good. We should make it a reality show and make some cash off of this!

Whiskey Tango F...

If Wes Poole is a black man, then what does this make Mr. Murray and Mr. Brady? I'll call reverend Al and Jesse, they'll help sort all of this out.

Whiskey Tango F...

Next this whole gender issue... I think some reach-arounds are in order to get a total confirmation. Man, woman, black, white, I am totally confused. We might have to accuse and blame ourselves for our own faults!


It seems like you still need to stay off the whiskey. When you start on that al and Jesse bs you sound real dumb. Like I asked before since you and your friends love calling on al and Jesse it seems like your efforts are lost give it up.


I knew it wouldn't be long till the race card was thrown, sickening and pointless and does nobody a damn bit of good.


Who did not see this coming???

A Young Adult's...

Darden, please SHUT UP. It will benefit you greatly. The mistreatment of city managers by commissioners is a staple of this city, no matter if the city manager is black or white.

Just go back to your church and pray.


She was a black woman when she was hired, was that sexist and racist? Is Darden saying Twine and Poole are racist? Drop the racist crap every time a person of color is criticized, sometimes it can be as simple as they suck at their job.


Seems like the Rev. is off the mark here.


What a joke for someone to really think this. Do your damn job correctly and you won't be fired.


You are really the last to comment on race being a joke. We can go back and look at almost any post about blacks positive or negative and we will see all your comments are negative.


I don't think hiring her was based on her race as much as some of you love to say when any person is hired for anything. I believe she didn't know what she was getting into and the way the city is run.

Julie R.

Well, you have to admit it does look fishy. Murray, Brady and Twine no sooner became commissioners and they all voted to fire her. Was it planned? I think it was.

Dr. Information

Or they were elected in and saw what a horrible job she was doing, gave her opportunities to fix it and she failed. Yeah, thats the truth right there.