The evaluation is a difficult one and it needs pondering because the public doesn’t get to interact with the City Manager other then just at the city commission meetings.
I have noticed some improvement under Ms. Ard’s management but a whole lot needs to be done. Staff is responding better to the public when they have questions, and they are better at public records request, although, there is one department that could use much improvement, but that is another discussion for later on.
It would be nice for Ms. Ard to have informal meetings with the public, maybe, quarterly town hall meetings for a debriefing and a question and answer period to anyone who is interested in attending.
The citizens are heads of the organizational chart and even though the commissioners are briefed on Ms.Ard’s performance, the public doesn’t get that same privilege. I often wondered why the City Manager, as a tradition at the end of the year, always gives the City’s State of the City Address to the Rotary members instead of to the very people who pay her salary. The City Manager is in close relationship with the business community, movers and shakers, and stakeholders and that is the way it should be, but she very seldom meets with the ordinary taxpayer unless there is a fire to be put out. Sometimes it is better to be proactive.
There seems to be a lot of things that just aren’t moving along like they should. In some cases, they are at a stand still. Decisions have to be made now instead of months from now. The project list needs to be reviewed every month to make sure everyone is on target. The list means nothing unless the items can be completed in a timely matter. At least get something moving on an item that has been on the list forever. Ms. Ard has implemented her management program with scorecards. We hear nothing about how her program is being implemented and how the scorecards are going to work.
Improvement have been made with regards to Ms. Ard’s management report during the city commission meetings other then informing us about donations made to the city. Reporting project updates and staff’s progress on them since the last city commission meeting would be very informative.
Until next time, let’s hope the City Manager finds some way of keeping the citizens fully informed on a regular basis.
Sharon Johnson is a born and bred Sandusky resident who's outspoken about community issues. Her blog, chronicling her efforts to keep tabs on city projects, is posted here Tuesdays at 11 a.m.