Update: Score cArd for city manager cites shortcomings

Matt Westerhold
Aug 18, 2013

 

Update: Sandusky city commissioner Diedre Cole sent the city a finalized version of a performance evaluation for city manager Nicole Ard that suggests Ard has failed to meet expectations across a broad spectrum of job responsibilities.  

Cole said she used a formatted evaluation form incorporating the job goals established when Ard was hired, and also used the charter officer evaluation form the city has used in the past. The evaluation cites numerous issues and includes an action plan for improvement, she said. The review she submitted also includes information from notes she took during a closed-door commission meeting with Ard earlier this month, contrasting her responses to the issues raised. 

Cole also said some fellow commissioners are soft-pedaling Ard's shortcomings and "dumbing down" the review process.    

"Ignoring this is not a good option. The city has serious challenges and tough choices ahead. Commission cannot turn a blind eye to these problems," she said. "Answering phones and taking recreation department reservations is not what the city's CEO and top-paid employee should be doing. What's the hourly rate at $126,000 a year?"  

"It's $61 an hour," Cole said, after quickly tapping a calculator to come up with the number. 

The Register has requested copies of the evaluation prepared by Cole and an earlier evaluation submitted by commissioner Wes Poole, and other reviews and drafts from other commissioners for city charter officers.

Cole also told the Register her mother died on Saturday. She has been commuting back and forth from North Carolina for some time helping her family care for her mother and said the funeral will be this week.   

She also said she intends to be a write-in candidate on the Nov. 5 ballot. Her mother's illness and working to get her family in North Carolina situated caused her to miss the deadline to file a candidate's petition, but can still file as a write-in candidate.

"I want to try a different approach," she said. 

*

Original Post, Aug. 16, 5:51 a.m. 

Two Sandusky city commissioners submitted performance review evaluations for city manager Nicole Ard that pinpoint what they say are areas in need of improvement. 

But the majority coalition on commission has adopted a wait-and-see approach to letting the public in on the score card for Ard and appear to be ignoring the information submitted.

Commissioner Wesley Poole provided a three-page evaluation form, and commissioner Diedre Cole filed a 23-page draft evaluation. Cole said she is finishing her forms and plans to include the notes she took during the Aug. 12 closed meeting commissioners conducted with Ard for the review. 

Both Poole and Cole used the job goals established by commission when Ard was hired in late 2011 for their evaluations, determining that she failed to meet some of  the goals and calling for an action plan to get back on track.

A Register special report in January based on a public records review and other information determined that none of the goals had been met. Ard declined to respond to questions from the Register while the reporting was being researched before it published and has not offered any response to it since it was published. Some of the goals appear to have been accomplished since that January report, which prompted the current review process by commissioners.

Commissioner Julie Farrar said her experience will guide her through the process. 

"Until the evaluation is totally complete and all parties have signed off on it, it is a work in progress," Farrar said, adding that she didn't take notes during the closed meeting with Ard.

Commissioner Jeff Smith, Farrar, ex officio mayor John Hamilton and commissioner Keith Grohe all discarded the evaluation submitted by Poole, and did not secure it as a public document. Cole's evaluation was filed with an email.

Hamilton told the Register "nobody really wanted" the forms Poole submitted. It's not clear how each commissioner's individual reviews will be incorporated into the final narrative of Ard's review to which Farrar referred, or why the commissioners refused to include Poole's viewpoint in the process. 

Ard has hired an attorney to guide her through the review process with commissioners, Grohe said. She replied to a recent inquiry from the Register about that and other questions but did not answer the questions asked.

"Sandusky is a special community in which to live and work, and I look forward to continuing my work with the Commissioners and on behalf of the residents," Ard wrote in her reply.

Performance reviews by commissioners for law director Don Icsman and finance director Hank Solowiej have been completed. The Register has requested copies of these reviews, drafts and other evaluation forms, documents and public record submitted during the earlier process.  

The city never followed up on the evaluation and review service that was part of the contract with the firm hired in 2011 to set the job goals and assist in the search for a new city manager. It was never explained how that contract provision was lawfully "waived" by commissioners, or why, but Smith suggested the review process currently underway is well-in-hand. 

"This will be my first evaluation of the city manager. However, due to my professional history, I am not a stranger to evaluation process," Smith wrote in an email to the Register.

Comments

Jaqdup

Areas in need of improvement?? Say it isn't so!! Like we didn't see this one coming.

SKULLNBONES

The commissioners have an obligation to make their evaluations public. Secret meetings? Destroyed documents?

gramafun

all employee evaluations and disciplines are done in executive session which are closed door sessions and NOT open to the public. That's the law.

Darkhorse

Why does Ard feel a need to lawyer up; it is only an evaluation. The evaluation must be worst then we thought. I never heard of someone hiring a lawyer for an evaluation. Mr. Pool should have handed in his evaluation by e-mail like Ms. Cole did so it couldn't be destroyed and it would be well documented. It is still not too late for him to do an e-mail and get it on the record. Who has the right to destroy someone else's evaluation unless people are trying to protect Ms. Ard. Some commissioners are certainly busy looping through the legal loop holes. Cole has a 23 page document? Wow, this going to get interesting. The commissioners are sure dragging their feet on the evaluation and it is still not done. I still think that destroying the document makes for a legal problem because Mr. Poole share the note so destroying it doesn't make any difference, others did receive it and the commissioners who destroyed a public document could be in trouble for destroying a public document.

gramafun

if you are evlauating an employee under contract you MUST stick to their contract and their job description when you evaluate them. You cannot go beyond that scope. Any good human resources manager will tell you the same thing. A 23 page document isn't needed, nor is some obscure document. You have to stay within the framework of the contract and the job description. No wonder she brought a lawyer. Obviously two commissioners don't understand that already.

Bess

"other duties as assigned" Ever hear of that catch all? I don't worry about Ms Ard if her time is isn't over this summer when the new commission sits she doesn't have a prayer.

Forward Looking

Because the Register will make a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be and spin it in a manner that will require her to get lawyer to cover her butt.

gramafun

what makes the SR think they have the right to evaluate any public offical? They are a news reporting agency, not the evaluation committee of the city. That is the responsibility of the commissioners and them only as to Ms Ard. It sounds as usual like the commissioners can't agree on how to proceed and the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing. Ms Ard has a contract with the city, therefore any evaluation would have to be within the scope of that contract I would think. If she is making mistakes, tell her specifically what they are within the scope of her job title and what the commissioners expect her to do to straighten them out. She answers to the commissioners...not the SR. If the Commissioners are dissatisfied with her work, they need to tell her what they think based on her job performance as stated in her contract and her job description....nothing more, nothing less. That should be pretty clear. Page after page of non descript rehtorict doesn't mean a thing if it doesnt coincide with a job description form and a job contract. What two commissioners want to pound her for on behalf of anyone else doesn't matter. That means nothing if it doesn't fit the job description part.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks gramafun, but some information you are posting is not accurate. A public contract does not supersede the Ohio Revised Code or other laws. The article mentions the reviews submitted follow the job goals and responsibilities that were spelled out for the city manager. City commissioners are conducting this evaluation, not the Register. The Register has a right to review the information and evaluate it just as you have a right to assess the city manager, the Register, or any other thing of interest to you. In this case, the Register's January report, 'Score cARD" was published simply as a review of the city's top-paid employee after a year on the job.  

pavedparadise

From the sight of her posting, one can only hope gramafun is not a current City Commissioner

OSUBuckeye59

Matt, would you be able to please republish the Goals?

Reviewing Ms. Ard against the Goals should be straight forward: Either she was Outstanding in delivering to a Goal, Successful, or performed Below Expectations. If she consistently scored Below Expectations, her overall Review results should then reflect that.

As for Ms. Ard hiring a Lawyer, perhaps she fears the Review results will be unfavorable. I could see where in at least one instance she would contest, the one area being where she delivered a one-page, hand written note showing cost reductions in specified departments to meet a Budget shortfall. Ms. Ard might argue she delivered a revised Budget as required. The feedback would be where she missed in meeting expectations was the deliverable required was a more detailed budget showing not only department reductions, but the timeline and plan to meet each reduction, potential risks as a result of the reductions, and possible mitigation plans to address the risks.

Again, all current available data clearly points to Ms. Ard having consistently performed Below Expectations.

registerer

Matt, while we have you on here would mind answering the question that was asked of you last week. In case you forgot it goes something like this: How many minorities work at the SR?

Matt Westerhold

There are no positions at the Sandusky Register that are publicly funded with taxpayer dollars. The Register has a very diverse staff, overall, but I don't have an exact head count. There are presently no African Americans working in the newsroom. Give me a call if you'd like to talk more about this. (419) 609-5866. 

 

registerer

Thanks for answering Matt. Much appreciated. However, public funds or not you should not chastise those for which you do the same.

Carlos Danger

Definition of a Hypocrite - "A person who engages in the same behaviors he condemns others for." - not attacking anyone or any publication in particular, just providing a definition, so please don't ban me ... again.

Forward Looking

Evaluate or Spin? If the Register evaluated and didn't spin it to make news it would be another story. Do we have a newspaper or a gossip rag in this town?

gramafun

I think we are saying the same thing in different words. A job description IS what the public contract would be would it not? I believe that is exactly what I said. You are saying the same thing in different words. She has to follow her contract or job description to know what to do (whichever you want to call it) and on that they must evaluate her. This isn't rocket science. No wonder she had an attorney present if they didn't know what to evaluate her with.

Your paper may have the right to see the information and read it, but you have only the right to report unbaisedly what you then see and read. That is all. It is the commissioners score card that means something. It is their job to do something about the evauation. Given the atmosphere around Ms Ard no wonder she brought the protection of an attorney to the evaluation.

Since Ms Cole and Mr. Poole seem to contact you so much, perhaps you could answer a question for some of us......why is it always the two of them who are in the "questioning " position away from the group so much and not with the "group" as much and why? Just wondering as they always seem to be in the opposing or troubling position so much of the time.

doggie mom

Once again Cole had to be in the story and by the serious difference in a 3 page to a 23 page filing...who likes to hear or read their own voice?

WhatTheHeck

Well said

gramafun

AMEN

OSUBuckeye59

Let's not get our daily exercise by jumping the gun . . .

Perhaps Ms. Cole is a very detail-oriented person and thus the 23-page evaluation. I have quite literally written hundreds of employee evaluations over the years. Whereas I have a goal of no more than 2 pages, perhaps Ms. Cole has gone into considerable depth as she believes that is what is warranted. I'm guessing the 23 page report could be easily condensed to less than 5 pages, if even that many. Still, I'd rather see a 23 page report, no matter how detailed, versus something like a 1 paragraph report.

whocares

Maybe Cole and Poole are the problem?

gramafun

I am beginning to wonder that myself. It seems whenever there is a problem, it is their names that POP up.

DickTracey

I'd like to give Cole a 23 page evaluation of how to get off public assistance and get a real job.

I'd hire a lawyer too, if someone who has never been in the work force has the authority to criticize my employment history!

pavedparadise

I personally don't Care if Cole is on Section 8, 9, 10 or 100 assistance. I'd take 3 more of her to replace the 3 bumbling, stumbling buffoons City Commissioners promoting their personal agendas or the agendas of the town's swindlers. Cole and Poole are the only two willing to take an in-depth look at issues facing the City from Hoppers Mobile Home Park, the Big Brother police car cameras and now the City Manager job review.

gramafun

you seem to always have something negative to say about anything the city commissioners do. Have you something of value that YOU would do about all that you complain about? I would truly love to hear you ideas. Go right ahead.

SamAdams

At least Cole is apparently willing to work at SOMEthing! Now if only she'd expend such efforts so that the rest of us didn't have to support her and hers the REST of the time!

gramafun

AMEN why not show up with legal council when the atmosphere in which you work is as hostile as the one in which Ms Ard is forced to work? When you know that at least TWO of the council people are "out to get you" and openly show it.

JERRY from SANDUSKY

Go get them Dick Tracy very accurate statement

Darkhorse

There is no reason to lawyer up if the manager is performing the service that is expected of the manager for the kind of pay that is being rendered for the job description. There must be more going on.

transplant

If she isn't doing her job, get rid of her. Any other employer who had an employee who was not doing their job would be fired in a heartbeat. No questions asked. She has had enough chances to prove herself.

SamAdams

Agreed. But consider for one second the probability of a lawsuit if the Commission actually BEHAVES like a responsible employer!

No, I'm not suggesting the Commission should be cowed by the threat. I'm just saying that the threat is there, and I'd frankly be surprised if at least SOME Commissioners WEREN'T shading their reviews, etc. accordingly.

OSUBuckeye59

Sam,

I tend to agree with you on the threat being present. But the best way for the Commissioners to address the threat is by providing clear, documented evidence of Ms. Ard's failure to meet expectations. Reviews where an employee is at a minimum Successful are, of course, much easier to write than when an employee has consistently failed expectations.

I hope the Commissioners learn from this situation and make changes to not repeat this in the future. I would hope the Commissioners require future City Managers to create a Plan of Action & Timeline, have the City Manager review the plan with Commissioners, including agreement on measurable success Indicators, and have the Commissioners then conduct a monthly review of status against the Plan. This all isn't difficult. It just requires due diligence in planning, executing, reporting and communicating.

whocares

It looks like 5 out of 7 say she's doing her job.

OSUBuckeye59

In my own experience generating employee evaluations, a 3 page report would be normal. A 23-page assessment seems rather long. Then again, I've always opted for clear, concise, abbreviate reports. Commissioner Cole may just be more detailed in her reporting. The end result is what's most important in that the report should detail Ms. Ard's measured accomplishments, or lack there-of, against stated goals.

Even though Ms. Ard has a contract with the City for her services, it seems odd she would retain the services of a Lawyer. Does anyone know if there's language in her contract allowing the City to dismiss her prior to her contract end date if she hasn't met certain deliverable criteria? Or if there's specific language allowing for automatic contract renewal under certain deliverables having been met?

Unless there's information the SR has somehow missed or has been not provided as the information has been kept private by the City Commissioners, all factual evidence currently available clearly points to Ms. Ard having performed Below Expectations in her role of City Manager. Given her contract is set to expire in just over 2 months, it's incredibly important for City Commissioners to realize the sense of urgency and complete the summary Review of Ms. Ard's performance such that the City can quickly start the search for a new City Manager.

The troubling part in all this is the apparent lack of Transparency. With Commissioners having set the Goals, Ms. Ard should have worked with Commissioners to identify measurable success criteria against the goals, built a plan of record detailing a path to meet the measurable results, and provided, at a minimum, monthly reports detailing status against meeting the goals. This isn't difficult. A good City Manager would be one who can communicate, plan well, communicate, execute, communicate, produce measurable results, and did I mention communicate?

pavedparadise

Ard's last job was eliminated and jumped $45,000 in salary by coming to Sandusky. On the gravy train hot seat? Hire an attorney.

Hillsborough Names Assistant Town Manager:::Nicole Ard, assistant to the town manager in Leesburg, Va., was selected from a pool of 150 applicants. She will replace former Assistant Town Manager Demetric Potts, who resigned in May for a Public Safety manager position with Wake County.

Ard will start work on or about Oct. 22 and will be paid a salary of $84,000.

OSUBuckeye59

Ms. Ard has a contract with the City. Has she hired a Lawyer because if the City doesn't renew her contract in November because of her not meeting expectations, she'll sue the City to get her unfavorable Review overturned and thus the City will then be forced to renew her Contract?

reporter54

She really should find another job and save the money she's paying a lawyer. She needs to find something she's more suited for but for the life of me, I don't know what that is!

Unassumer

maybe she could be a communications specialist? arrrrgh!

T. A. Schwanger

###

Not that it matters much, since City Commission from time to time violates the City Charter, but here is what the City Charter has to say:::::

127.01 CITY MANAGER'S POWERS AND DUTIES.

The City Manager shall be the administrative head of the municipal government under the direction and supervision of the City Commission and SHALL HOLD OFFICE AT THE PLEASURE of the City Commission.....
(Ord. 05-157. Passed 10-24-05.)

Meaning he/she can be let go at anytime. Contract or no contract.

OSUBuckeye59

"...AT THE PLEASURE of...". That one word, "PLEASURE", is as subjective of a word as any. It's so far from measurable that it causes my head to spin.

No wonder Ms. Ard hired an attorney.

T. A. Schwanger

###

Such is life when a person is an appointed public official.

If commission decides a change in direction is in order and a change in the City Manager position is the answer well..........

Nemesis

Yes, but they may need to pay out the remainder of her contract depending on its terms unless they can show cause.

Pragmatic

Those of you who have been in business (and…this IS business) a long time might agree when I say that evaluating people tends to be more subjective than objective. We like to have numbers and goals to check off in boxes when we evaluate, but we are intelligent enough to know that there are some emotions tied up in evaluating other people. My guess is that a 23 page evaluation, does in fact, have some emotional verbiage. Perhaps, through the evaluators eyes, it’ factual…however, if I were to read this document, I am certain I would find some emotional context cues in the evaluation. But, this is true for many evaluations in the business community. Evaluations like that don’t provide much solid direction – rather, they put the person being evaluated in a defensive mode. If the person were doing extremely well, would they be deserving of a 23 page evaluation? Most likely they wouldn’t get that much attention if they were doing well.

The major concern I have with all of this is…why won’t the Commissioners get together with their individual evaluations in private and write a comprehensive evaluation from the entire City Commission? This Commission constantly shows they are divided…with everything.

It would be illogical to expect Ms. Ard (or anyone) to have to try and follow all of the recommendations from all of the individual reports. If a frontline worker had to follow evaluations from seven different people, they wouldn’t know which direction to go. Again, that is because evaluations are emotional. I have not only been conducting evaluations for over 20 years, but I have designed very detailed systematic evaluation programs for the government and the corporate environment. As objective and quantitative we want them to be…they are not.

If the commission is evaluating someone objectively – based on an actual scale and how goals were met – the evaluations would be similar and even have an “average”. You can measure factual data. Then, the person being evaluated knows where they need improvement and where they are doing well.

But, the Commission should come together and offer the City Manager a comprehensive evaluation. This is what professionals do. How can the City Commissioners expect their citizens to unite when….everything we hear about them is divided? Seriously, this isn’t that complicated.

OSUBuckeye59

Pragmatic,

With all due respect, and I truly do mean respect, I disagree on evaluations being more subjective than objective. But perhaps that's due to the process my employer uses. Getting ready for the annual review period, we require each employee to submit 3-5 names of people they've consistently worked with or provided deliverables to in the previous year. After receiving the names, I send out a basic questionnaire to each person in separate emails, requesting they provide feedback of how my direct report supported them, specific examples of measured deliverables, what the employee did well, and what improvements or growth should the employee address.

In parallel, I require each employee to conduct a self-appraisal, again providing evidence of measurable results. It's not acceptable for a result to be measured with phrases such as "Improved the run-time execution of the test program", or "Increased mfg. production output". Instead, the self-appraisal would have to be written with phrases such as "Improved the run-time execution of the test program from 2 hours to less than 1 hour", or "Increased mfg. product output from 20 units/hr to 32 units/hr while maintaining all quality goals and at no additional cost".

In over 25 years of managing personnel, peer feedback reviews have provided feedback that's always consistent in terms of an employee's performance. Not once have I received a peer review inconsistent with other peer reviews.

As for the employee, I've coached many a direct report on what is and what is not a good self review. I use the employee self-evaluation as a basis for writing the final review. In writing the final review, I include quotes from the peer reviews where applicable, either to showcase to the employee praise from a peer or manager, or an area for improvement/development as provided by a peer that's consistent with the area of improvement/development I'm also showcasing. And it's definitely the area of improvement/development where the peer feedback is key because the employee is able to read it wasn't just my observation of where they needed to improve/develop, thus greatly helping to reduce the subjectivity in a review. I've definitely had employees who didn't overall do very well, or didn't do well in a targeted area, with each of these employees not liking the message they were reading, but having the peer feedback information included in the review greatly helped to give the review more of an objective flavor to it.

I absolutely agree with your last paragraph. The Commission should indeed work together on this. And yes, it isn't that complicated. I'd like to suggest the Commissioners consider having an independent individual help them through the review process...someone who is focused on the process and getting to a unified review result.

Pragmatic

OSU....

All I can say is be very careful when using subjectivity and that type of verbiage in the formal evaluation process. This is very important. I keep my thumb on the pulse of litigation in this area of business, as well as the area of equal opportunity. What happens is…when you are using subjectivity in your formal appraisal process…employees can sue for many things - - plus, using subjectivity makes a good case for the person suing you – because, many of those things are easy to prove.

Lawyers and/or investigative bodies look for patterns in your verbiage…clues in your word usage…and, they do so in all the employees you review. If they find a pattern, they will make a case of it. Therefore, when you use subjective material to evaluate someone, they can find context cues that you may not know is there. Your limbic system does have the ability to control this process…without you even knowing it. That is why so many companies today are blindsided by lawsuits. Supervisors say: “Well, I didn’t mean to say that” - - “That isn’t what I really meant” or “I thought I was being fair”. I don’t recommend subjective evaluations for any company – under any circumstance.

The major reasons lawsuits today are filed are because of illegal questioning during interviews, verbiage used during the termination process…AND…subjective feedback to employees. This is why large companies will only use a formal numeric rating system. Then, to set goals and coach for high performance, they use other strategies. It can be very difficult to use a subjective process AND be fair. Subjectivity and peer reviews also lends itself to that ‘ole “popularity contest” too.

Goals and objectives can be measured…how peers “feel” about someone cannot be accurately measured. This is a very dangerous ground. I am a fan of the 360 degree review process...but, that has gotten people into trouble too...based on patterns of their subjective evaluation behaviors.

OSUBuckeye59

Pragmatic,

Most excellent feedback. Thank you.

My employer is a Fortune 100 company with over 100,000 employees. Our review process has stood the test of time. All employees continuously receive training, mentoring and support in how to rate performance using objectivity and data as opposed to subjectivity and "feelings". Managers also review each other's performance reviews of their direct reports. Any reviews resulting in an action where an employee is recommended for disciplinary action of any kind, up to and including recommendation to terminate, receive additional scrutiny and review with not only peer and more senior level managers, but also a group's HR representative and HR legal representatives.

I've been directly involved in some number of employee review challenges. I've learned much over the years. And I clearly remember the few legal challenges, with the outcomes being the review results, while painful and difficult, had clear, concise, irrefutable data supporting the results.

pavedparadise

Hey all you fellow Bloggville bloggers. If ya think the City is in turmoil now wait until Julie "Bobblehead" Farrar becomes Commission President and Jeff "The Ostridge" Smith becomes Vice President after the November election. Goodness forbid if Scott "the $100,000 check" Schell gets elected.

Julie R.

I don't know why the city of Sandusky just doesn't hire a silver-tongued devil lawyer as the city manager and be done with it. I have a gut feeling that's what it's boiling down to, anyway ...... but I won't mention any specific name.

Darkhorse

Our city is in constant turmoil due to inexperienced city manager and elected officials who haven't the capability to lead. Some people are getting away with things that they shouldn't be doing and the elected officials look the other way instead of addressing the situation. The commissioners have no backbone to stand up for what is right and what is wrong anymore. It does no good to elected new commissioners in because the past commissioners keep coming back, after term limits are done, to run again. It becomes a continuous circle of bad management.

Julie R.

Murray was involved in the expensive Nuesse fiasco ........ and now he's back running for city commissioner. After Schell got fired in the Nuesse fiasco, he became the executive director of the land bank ........ and now he, too, is back running for a city commissioner seat.

The more things change in Sandusky the more they stay the same. Sort of like the county ---- they got rid of Maschari and it's even worse now.

whocares

After reading all of these post, why don't some of the experts run for commission?

gramafun

I couldn't agree more with this statement. They complain on here about this one and that one getting elected or getting this or that position but I don't see their names on any ballot. Why is that?

MattDamon

Hey guys... uhh they capitalized the A in Card. Way to go on the grammar error.. lol

fica

It is a play on words, incorporating the name Ard into card. No error.

MattDamon

LOL!!!!! classic!!!! good one guys!!!!

citizen

How does Diedre rate an individual's performance in the workplace?

What experience does Diedre have in managing individuals... let alone holding a non-management job?

Matt Westerhold

Thanks citizen. Those and other questions would be good to ponder while reading through the document. We'll post it here as soon as we receive it from the city, or you can request a copy of it from commission.

citizen

How does reading through Diedre's 23 page eval answer the question of her professional and educational qualifications to effectively evaluate or manage an individual or group of individuals?

Does Diedre have management experience (or any experience for that matter) in the real world?

You don't need a copy of a 23 page evaluation from her to answer those questions, I don't believe.

dorothy gale

Maybe Ms. Cole wants to be city manager?

Julie R.

Maybe Mr. Murray wants to be city manager?

T. A. Schwanger

###

My understanding is City Manager Ard's previous reference to a "closed portion" of her contract refers to any job review or disciplinary action is closed to public inspection.

Good luck to the Register in trying to obtain records of her evaluation hence the probable reason why an attorney was hired by the City Manager.

gramafun

or was that lawyer there to protect her from all the hostility she receives from a couple of commissioners on the commission or any unfair treatment she receives? Or does she need legal protection from some commissioners during evaluations?

Curley

What is wrong about hiring someone from inside city hall for City Managers spot. It seems the commissioners screwed up again. Everytime they hire someone from the outside they go astray and end up either leaving or getting themselves fired. What's wrong with our commissioners.

Train

Have pavedpairofdice, darkhorse, and T.A.Schwanger put their hat in the ring. They seem to have all the answers.

gramafun

OMG...no way. I know someone who is VERY qualified to be a city manager and it isn't any of them. He is trained in this and lives right here in Sandusky. He is qualified to be a city manager. He'd do it for less than what ARD makes.

whocares

I think Matt should have ran for Cole's seat on city commission. Then the news would be more direct than only coming from a couple of sources. This whole article has been created from 2 of 7 commissioners.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks whocares. But your math isn't right. Every commissioner was contacted for this article, and has been asked to provide their point of view and comment. We have asked they provide any written reports just as commissioners Cole and Poole chose to do. Six different city officials were quoted or otherwise provided information for the article. 

gramafun

Matt, the only thing others provided was directed about Cole and Poole. There is nothing in the article about the evaluation of Ms Ard. So how can you say that any other commission commented on the evaluation of Ms Ard except Cole and Poole in the article? The entire article is about Ms Cole and Mr Poole and what they did. There is absolutely nothing in this article about any of the other commissioners and their written evaluations about Ms Ard nor what they thought about her performances as City Manager. I am really confused by your comment?

Darkhorse

According to the paper, the evaluation isn't over with as yet. I think the paper should have waited until the process was over to be fair. The two commissioners that leaked things out should have waited until the whole thing was final. We are only getting one side of the story and we haven't seen the rest of the documentation. This whole thing looks to be pretty serious and I can understand why Ms Ard felt a need to lawyer up. I hope the city isn't looking at another lawsuit over the way the city handled the evaluation.

OSUBuckeye59

Having at least 2 Commissioners releasing their individual evaluation reports now could potentially turn into a legal dilemma for the City. One example: Should Ms. Ard be relieved of her position prior to her contract renewal, or not have her contract renewed as a result of a less-than-successful job performance review, Ms. Ard's lawyer might argue the 2 evaluations released independently before other commissioners completed their evaluations could have "negatively influenced" subsequent Commissioner evaluations.

Ms. Ard may not have performed to expectations, but the City Commissioners aren't necessarily working well in their collective role. The city deserves and needs strong Leadership in the City Manager role, and strong Leadership on the Commission.

8ballinthesidepocket

Just goes to show that even the best person cannot make chicken salad out of chicken sheet!!!

gramafun

now that is funny

milemarkerzero

I think it's about time Cole and Poole go back into the audience and keep Sharon company.

T. A. Schwanger

###

City Commission posturing regarding this issue could have easily been averted if only the Majority Coalition, using the Register's term, would have invited The Novak Consulting Group (City Manager search group) to provide periodic non biased reviews of the City Manager's meeting the goals and objectives outlined as per her and Novak's contract.

gramafun

why don't you just give up and run for city commission if you have all the answers like you seem to have as write in or do you want Ard's job It would be interesting to see someone from here run the city who has lived here for a while. why don't you run for it?

Darkhorse

Come January, the votes may turn around and Ard will be totally unprotected. There is no term limit on Ard's contract. If the commissioners want her out without showing just cause, they will have to pay her 6 months severance pay and benefits.

jackw504
aadi

Thanks

aadi

The idea is to focus on facts and try and define a baseline problem to share.