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.


Julie R.

I saw the handwriting on the wall for Nicole Ard when Tone & Binette publicly criticized her over the so-called unjust firing of two Sandusky police officers ~ one the part-time police officer son of good ole' boy Randy Glovinsky.

I said it before and I'll say it again --- whatever the agenda is for the city of Sandusky, you can take it to the bank that the jokes in the county are involved in it.


Julie, do you work for the city and/or county?


Most of the people on here don't even live in the city or county.


This is why I never put any stock into anything you say on Julie R.....I know one of the officers who was fired so I have followed that story pretty close, Tone nor Binette EVER came out publicly and criticized her for the terminations.....in fact one of the officers appeals that Ard fought is sitting waiting for a decision by Roger Binette, so if he was so "Anti Ard" like you claim, why wouldnt he have put him back to work yet?? Your arguments never make any sense....


Julie is correct IMO about Glovinsky. Also, why did Ard get taken to task for the failing of the law director and the outside counsel he hires because he can't do his job?


Ross got fired for a DUI that happened 2 years before he got fired, but Ard fired him for it anyway and the city will pay for that mistake. I do agree about Iscman though, why when you have an attorney on staff do you outsource your legal issues to a law firm in Columbus?? I mean I can understand why they dont want iscman screwing things up, but they hired him, use him! You thought Ard was a bad CM, Iscman is an absolute goof and will screw the city more than it already is....count on it!!

Dr. Information

Racist and sexist in the same claim. Whats next obesist? Typical dumb dumb, always playing the card game.


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

No, that's the two reasons she was HIRED.

Darwin's choice

And, given an award......


Pathetic Reverend Darden. You can make the claim of racist behavior only when there is no other reason. That is clearly not the case here. Nicole is a very nice person but she was clearly incompetent. This was obvious from what seems a long time ago and someone needed to let her go. Salary aside, Nicole will be better off in the long-term unless she remains in town. There is too much bad publicity here.

Julie R.

Like the saying goes ---- be careful what you wish for.


Julie R.....do you ever post anything on here that makes any sense? You seem to have an opinion on everything on here, but I have never read one that has much to do with the story at hand, or are comments based on your opinion not fact


Thank You. You see I felt bad I didn't understand. Now I feel better that you pointed out it doesn't make any sense.


People who play the race card don't realize that it prolongs and intensifies racism.


That's bs and you know it. I have no reason to believe the Rev. but he is only one man. Racists prolong and intensify racism not opinions.


what about racist opinions?


I respectfully disagree but appreciate your point of view deertracker.


Race was an issue? Not doing her [very well paid] job was the problem. She will get a job that better suits her. Life will go on for her, she is strong, she will be fine. Using the race card, now that was not necessary, think before you scream : Its because someone is black . Sandusky deserves a better city manager. Reverend ,you should apologize to the commissioners for this outrageous accusation.


How about the other two that were fired within recent memory Mr. Darden. Why did you not go to bat for them? It's not because they are white males, is it?

Dr. Information

Bingo. Most blacks fuel the race card and racial issues. They are the ones that make a big deal about it instead of looking at the real issue, that this lady was a fat azz that sat there and did nothing.


You and your friends bring race up more than anyone. So to say Blacks fuel the race card and racial issues when you bring your racist opinions on constantly is bs.

Dr. Information

Me and my friends? Point to me, where I have ever said anything racial related about anyone? Stir that racial pot santown.


Understand Dr Info, no matter what you say if its against Ard youre racist, thats the way it is now adays, if you can act like a victim people will feel sorry for you and GIVE you stuff, i.e. Obamacare

Julie R.

According to Dr. Information, Ms. Ard was a fat azz that sat there and did nothing.

As I recall, the unknown moderator of the removejohnson blog said the same thing about the former black Clerk of Court Barb Johnson. That vicious blog claimed she was a do-nothing clerk for over 20 years but I'll stick up for that lady from now until doomsday. She was the ONLY decent & ethical public official in Erie County and if anybody would know that for a fact, I would. I put up with the rest of those unethical jokes in the county for over 10 years and one thing for certain ---- the unethical inept clowns sure are good at hiding.


I agree! What a crass remark Dr. Information!


I heard a lot of criticism of Nicole Ard as City Manager during her tenure. Some of it was here on these public forums; some of it was in private. And not once, no matter WHO was speaking or in WHAT venue, did I hear somebody say anything about her doing a bad job because she was black, because she was female, or because she was overweight.

Every complaint that I heard related to incompetence, whether perceived or real. It appears in the end that a good many of those complaints were valid, and Ard was fired as a result. After the firing, there were still MORE comments made, and many weren't too shy about it!

But you know what? So far the ONLY talk of her being fired because she was black and a woman has come from a well-known local race-baiter. Consider the source, folks, consider the source...


I've seen President Obama mocked and insulted in a manner that no other president in my lifetime has been mocked and insulted for simply doing his job. Not once have the racists said that it is because he's black. So what? Just because racists in Ohio are sophisticated enough not to use racial slurs when criticizing someone simply for the color of their skin does not make those comments race neutral.

The mayor had an opportunity when he fired Ms. Ard to articulate what had happened since he was elected that justified her firing. He didn't. He also had an opportunity when he campaigned for office to explain why Ms. Ard should be fired. I don't know what he said. But apparently Mr. Darden believes that he never indicated any intention of firing Ms. Ard.

Mr. Darden is now filling in the empty space left by the mayor's silence.

As for Ms. Ard's competence, I would simply note that the current mayor was involved in hiring Kim Nuesse. He was also at the heart of the fiasco when she was fired. He then left town until the whole storm blew over. Yet, there he sits once again as mayor. Next to him sits his crony, Dick Brady, who spent X number of dollars to bring Ms. Ard to town, and gave her a six-month severance package to boot. Yet nobody has anything to say about what a couple of bozos they are.
So, regardless of the merits of Mr. Darden's comments, I could certainly understand why Mr. Darden feels like government officials in this town are held to different standards based on the color of their skin.


From Bogtrotter, "Mr. Darden is now filling in the empty space left by the mayor's silence."



"President" oBUMa is mocked and insulted because he is the worst President in US history, not because he is an incompetent black man.


I'm watching the replay of the meeting.

Did anyone catch Murray making a motion to go from 7 City Commissioners down to 5 Commissioners? This will further inhibit the chances of minorities being elected to City Commission office.

Where does the IMA stand on this issue and a future move by Murray to eliminate term limits.