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.



I am so sick and tired of these want to be leaders, who hide behind the title of Reverend. Preaching hate, discontent, and stirring turmoil is not the work of a person who believes in the teachings of Christ.
Color does not matter, only to those who will use it to continue the efforts of hate where there is none. Seems like the only racists people today are black.


It couldn't be because she cost and continues to cost the city money with her bone headed decisions?? It HAS to be because she is black, getting SO sick of that!


Nicole Ard was fired because she was horrible at her job! Bottom Line!! Why isnt this Rev Sharpton wannabe bringing up the fact that she has cost the city jobs and money, rarely showed up at any meetings because she didnt feel she had to, and did her budget like she was a 3rd grader.....anyone who talked to her for more than 5 minutes could see she was in way over her head, but its the commissions fault for not hiring qualified people, I dont blame Ard as much as I blame them for hiring someone who was not qualifed....IF ANYTHING she got HIRED because of her gender and skin color!!



You are absolutely totally correct

VTX Rider

What, she was......black AND a woman!! Holy crap who knew? In all seriousness, in my unbiased, semi-professional opinion I believe she may have been in over her head. Or, there may have beeb personal reasons that kept her from performing her job. Either way, I feel, in my opinion, that her firing was justified given the fact she was presented with the opportunity to change direction. I don't care if you glow in the dark, have 6 toes on each foot and three eyes. If you fulfill the qualifications to perform a job and you perform it as expected and outlined in your job description, then I will support you.

Carry on.


So this gang of white males, a black male and a black female all conspired to fire her because she's black and female. Huh?


Are we forgetting that two of the commissioners who voted for her to get fired were black, one was a black female! What's the good "reverend" say about that???


Rev. Darden said, "“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”. “You had in mind that you were (going) to fire the city manager”

He's right.

1st Commission meeting in 2014. New Commissioners were swore into office.

2nd Commission meeting in 2014. Ms. Ard was given the "last-chance agreement".

Is it really a stretch to include racism or sexism when in fact the "last-chance agreement" was really a ruse?

Maybe the Commissioners should be a little more transparent.


For those of your IGNORANT enough to comment on here and say that she was fired because she is a black female and / or no reason was given to justify the firing, I have one question for you: Did you actually read the article or follow Ard's "performance" over her tenure as city manager?

The article clearly states that Ms. Ard was given a last chance agreement (something I assume she signed) in which she had 60 days to "show significant improvement" in her job performance or she would be FIRED.

I also assume that most of the commissioners are smart enough to have included (in that agreement) a detailed list of areas which needed improvement, and even some possible suggestions on ways she could have improved.

Bottom line is that Ms. Ard FAILED miserably at her job and no longer has it for that reason alone. She was given numerous opportunities to improve, but failed to do so.

Mr. Darden and anyone else who shares his thoughts, let me put this in as simple English as possible for you to hopefully understand:

She was NOT fired because she is a black female!!!!! She was fired because she was an INCOMPETENT person (who happens to be a black female) at her job and couldn't preform the duties that were asked of her.

Dr. Information

For all of those who support her. The proof is there that she was horrible at her job. Now show us proof of what she did so great that should of kept her at her job as CM. We will patiently wait.

Julie R.

Once again, I saw the handwriting on the wall for Nicole Ard back when Tone & Binette publicly criticized her. That's why it didn't surprise me how fast the "new" commissioners moved to get rid of her. Also, once again, whatever the "agenda" is for the city of Sandusky you can bet your life on it that the county clowns are involved. I also believe one of the things on their personal agenda list has to do with the Erie County Land Bank.

Time will tell .........


People that pull the race card to defend someone who didn't do their job, just continue to hold society back.

It's even worse when that person gets authority from religion and can instill fear into the listeners, who actually by his self-seeking sermons (the progress of the African American race at all costs).

Religion anymore, is a man's way to influence society. We've got this turd preaching about "I'm fired because I am black." We got SMCC ousting a gay dude. We got churches nationwide, having cutouts of George W. Bush during election period. It's a joke. Religion, influencing people to make decisions outside of their best interests.

When you look at a pastor, or priest, or a minister, they are no different than any of you. They sin. They have faults of man.

When they pray, they pray to the same God that you do (if you believe).

Their faith should in no way influence politics at any level and should not be pushed in the face of those that believe differently. Religion should not be used to defend race issues that have no evidence and they should not be used to discriminate based on gender,skin color, sexual orientation, etc.

Prayer wasn't even in school until the 1950's. This authority, this churchy, preachy authority to influence issues of society should stop. It's sickening, disgusting, and disturbing.


Just reminder, all of you out there that disagree with Rev Darden are now and forever more racist!!! Tom and Henry Aaron, if you wear a three piece suit you are a member of the KKK. Great logic, eh?


Darden sounds like he's grasping at straws. Doesn't he know how many problems they had with her (most of which were documented in SR)? He sounds like a horse with blinders on!

fanatic's picture

Mr. Murray is absolutely correct. It doesn't matter what color you are. It's all about politics and chest thumping good old boys.


It is person's such as Rev Darden who make the problems with race so awful. Blaming things on race is why there is such a divide among people of color to begin with. When comments such as this are made, you stop looking at the person and consentrate only on the skin of the person and not what they do.

In the case of Ms Ard, the conduct and inefficence of her work is what caused her firing. To make it about the color of her skin is not the issue at all. To make it about that is nothing more than a smoke screen and a deterent of the issues at hand. She was given a list of things to change, which she did not do. That is what got her fired. When one does not listen to their boss, make necessary changes and do what is needed to keep one's job....expect to be fired.

To try and make it about the color of one's skin is nothing more than an blatant excuse. That is not only a miserable way in which to live, it is also unfair to the boss, it is also unfair, in this case, to Ms Ard. I cannot believe that she would throw the "race card" into this matter any more than she would throw the "sex card" into the mix. She was fully aware of what was required after receiving the notice of what was expected of her. She was notified of the time line. She failed to comply and was terminated. To complain that is was about color or sex would be beneath her, an educated woman.

I would think that Rev. Darden, who is supposedly and educated man, would understand that as well.


To understand the behavior of race baiters like Darden, Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc., you have to first understand that they suffer from Gilligan's Island syndrome. If the castaways on Gilligan's Island ever got what they sought, to be rescued and return to civilization, then the series was over. Similarly, these activist types can never claim success or admit their goal has been realized, because then they'd all have to go out and get real jobs doing something useful and productive.


One of the commenters commented that you can make the claim of racist behavior only when there is no other reason.

The very thought that our Sandusky City Commission could make a decision to fire someone because of race or sex is so repugnant that the consensus among 4 pages of comments is that this absolutely can't be true; she was fired because she didn't do her job and didn't live up to the last chance agreement.

But, is that true? She didn't do her job? She didn't live up to the last chance agreement? This commenter believes that she did, in fact, live up to the last chance agreement. But she was fired anyway!

If you look at the city's charter the city manager serves at the pleasure of the City Commissioners. If you look at Ms. Ard's contract it appears that it agrees with the charter that she could be fired for any reason at all except of course discrimination. So to simply fire her all they had to do was fire her. BUT they didn't do that. For whatever reason they decided to give her a 60 day last chance agreement which if she lived up to would preserve her job.

They very carefully spelled out what was expected and gave her a copy. 60 days later they fired her without regard to the last chance agreement:

After hearing Commissioner Schell state Ms. Ard has done everything that she can do in her latest performance plan and that he voted no on her firing; ex officio mayor Murray stated that per the charter the city manager serves at the pleasure of the Commission so he voted yes to fire her.

In my opinion Mr. Murray can't have it both ways. The Commission forced the last chance agreement on Ms. Ard and she accepted it -- she didn't quit or resign. Mr. Murray has to live up to the terms of the last chance agreement.

Now, did she actually live up to her job during this 60 day period? Well, she put together a budget which was accepted and passed by the Commission. She put together the Town Hall visual presentation for Mr. Murray's Town Hall meetings. She kept the streets cleared and safe during our extraordinary winter. She has a smooth running police department -- finally. WHAT MORE IS THERE?

Forward Looking

Some preacher needs to feel important and relevant it seems. Funny that several of the Commissioners are black and voted in favor of her firing. It must take this to mean that he is calling all of the YES votes racist and including 2 black city commissioners voting YES to FIRE Ms. Ard. Does he not realize that 3 white commissioners voted NO? That means more white commissioners were in support of Ms. Ard than black Commissioners. Interesting how those with everything is Racist, have blinders on.

It is time to take responsibility for one's performance and if she was not doing her job, she should be fired. The City doesn't have the money to keep someone on the job that is not doing her job. I am not saying she was not doing their job, but I have to think that she would not be FIRED if she was doing her job and would not have negative performance reviews if she was doing her job. Taking this for face value and by what the Register posts as facts. If my facts are wrong, then it must be my source...the Register.


Although this is only an assumption, I'm sure those 3 white commissioners (who voted against her firing) took the racism issue into consideration before casting their vote.

This is a prime example of why people such as Darden, Sharpton, Jackson, etc. need to SHUTUP and GO AWAY!!!!!


C'mon wally44824, I have to do a "Judge Judy", you can't tell us what is in the dissenting commissioners' minds. You can go to the video though and actually watch and listen to what they had to say. Short video; only a few minutes long.


The KICKER is that Commissioner Murray said their comments were valid!

Dr. Information

Obviously she didn't do her job or they wouldn't of fired her. Game over.


Wait a sec, aren't "whiteys", "crackers", "uncle Tom's", "Pigs" becoming the minority?

Dr. Information

Yes they are, last year white people had less children than all the minorities combined. I think white people are seeing the way this country is going and being smart.