Too many questions unanswered about city staffing and budget

Jan 1, 2013


My topic this week is how tight lipped the City Manager is about city items on hold and the status of the budget.

Since the year has ended, I hope the City Manager will give her year-end report to the taxpayer, head of the organization chart, about the state of the city. Or will she give her report exclusively to the Rotary members as it has been traditionally done in the past? It seems really bizarre for the City Manager to give her State of the City Address to Rotarians instead of the very people who pay her wages.

Ms. Ard should be informing us as to what has been accomplished during her first year, what her goals will be for the upcoming year, and what she will need to address as her top priorities. Ms. Ard should make her presentation at the City Commission meeting so we can feel her confidence that things are progressing along and that we are not waiting until a fire starts burning to address various problems that could have been taken care of by being proactive.

What does the manager intend to do with the City Engineer’s position? Who will fill the position until we obtain another engineer and when will that happen?  We certainly hope the projects are in experienced hands until such time we fill the engineer’s position. The manager was notified a year in advance of the vacancy. I am disappointed that we haven’t gotten someone ready to hit the ground; instead, we have waited until the person is about to leave and now a gap may well exist in the position. It is vital that we have an engineer in place as soon as possible.

The union contract will expire and mum is still the word as to how negotiations have been progressing along. What will the new contract consist of in benefits and wages?

Six firefighters are working under a grant, which is running dry. The situation is not sustainable and the firefighters will eventually have to be laid off because the budget will not be able to accommodate the expense of keeping them on after the grant runs out.  

The IT Manager was never replaced. I wonder, by not replacing the position, how vulnerable it makes the city’s operating systems, by not having the expertise in keeping the city’s computer systems well maintained. Is the budget that bad that we cannot replace him?

There are a lot of expenses on the city’s plate and not enough revenue to cover all that needs to be covered.  It makes me wonder how we could possibly entertain thoughts of moving City Hall and taking on more debt to accommodate the project since we can’t even afford the simple necessities to keep a city running. It is irresponsible of our leaders to consider moving City Hall while neglecting other projects that are still in dire need of attention and have been for years.   

Until next time, there are a lot of questions the taxpayers would like answered in order for us to feel comfortable and less anxious about whether or not we are in capable hands.  



What I find amusing about this blog is that the "blogger" always asks what other people are going to do about something. There is never any mention of solutions or what the blogger can or will do about these problems.

Sadly, that is the state of Sandusky now, a bunch of people that refuse to get in the game, beating up on those that act and do. How much progress will Sandusky see if we expect for others to accomplish things, instead of taking the initiative to do it themselves.

Who is better serving the city and its people, those that blog about it, or those that do something about it?

Also, how does the blogger expect the City Manager to share the State of the City Address? Stand on the corner of Meigs and Washington? They used to give it at the State Theater, but that would cost precious money so I am sure the blogger would not like that. However, something tells me that this blogger will not be happy with any decision ever made with anyone of authority in this area.



Are you truely impressed with the leadership and vision in today's Sandusky government.

Really, shouldn't there have been interviews with possible Chief Engineer replacements well before Mr. Roth vacated the spot or addressing any of the other last minute decision items Ms. Johnson describes?


How do you know there haven't been? How do you know that there have not been interviews or perhaps people who have been offered the job?

Do you know for sure that it has not happened? How could you possibly have that type of "inside info" that only the department of human resources, the city commissioners and Ms Ard would know?


My point is a replacement for the Chief Engineer should have been announced prior to his leaving whether it be someone from inside the organization or an outsider via announced advertisement and application period for the position. There was plenty of time, almost a year, obviously this has not happened.


I do admire Sharon even though at times I may not agree with her. Many of you have told Sharon to run for office. I prefer to see her as a concerned citizen and political activist. She has posted a blog. Use it to post your comments and opinions for a better Sandusky, Ohio. Unless the citizens become very active, those who hold public office won't have a clue. This blog allows the city residents to become very involved. You can remain anonymous and post your opinions to make the city better. The powers that be read the comments. If you cannot attend the city meetings or are too bashful to go up to the podium and mic, this blog can provide your voice to be heard. I wish that more citizens were involved in their local governments like Sharon.

How is that housing scandal investigation coming along? Was that swept under the rug?
"Sandusky housing scandal investigation continues"


My topic this week is how to use a dictionary and thesaurus so that every column I write doesn't start with "my topic this week..."

Good 2 B Me

My Topic this week is to agree with you. Hook us in with the first sentence and make us WANT to read it!


So is wrongly paired with the word that too often::

So is paired with a that-clause to create emphasis. So, an adverb, modifies or intensifies an adjective or adverb in the cause-clause. And that follows in the effect-clause with a remarkable or extraordinary comment. (Note that may be omitted, and very cannot be used in place of so.)

Woody Hayes

It says the blogger is born and bred in Sandusky. Don't they do that to barking dogs, also?


At one time, the "State of the City" address given at a Rotary Club meeting was broadcast live on local radio. Did they quit doing that? Even if they HAVE quit doing that, the same address has always been given before or after the Rotary lunch for the public.

Swamp Fox

Did you ever balance a business or goverment budget, or just comment as a Monday morning QB?


Who really cares if the State of the City is given in front of the Rotary Club or the city commissioners as long as it is given?

It seems to me that giving it is the important part. If there are problems in the city, which there always are, then they will get fixed. Given the fact that Ms Ard comes under fire so much of the time, including under fire from two city commissioners in particular, I don't blame her for giving this report in a neutral corner. Why should she give it in front of a somewhat hostile crowd.

If you want to give a report without fear of reprisal, questioning or interruption, you go to neutral territory where you are not in fear of being harassed while giving it and not in fear of being questioned to kingdom come when finished. I can see why she is doing so.

Yes, she needs to answer some of these questions. But maybe she doesn't want to do so by being badgered like she normally is by so called well meaning "social advocates' with agendas.

Ms Ard has a HUGE job and she hasn't exactly gotten a great deal of help from anyone around here....including the citizens of this town.

Sandusky has become a great big pool of take, take, take. "What can you do for me"? sort of populace that hasn't offered much help.

What I read and see are people who have a lot of complaints as well, but do not offer much help. Why is that? Are we all waiting for the other guy to offer help first?

I was born and raised here and I remember a different sort of Sandusky, one in which it's citizens helped out with each other and with the town: without excuses and without complaint.

What happened to that place? Please, don't bother to explain. I think I can figure it out myself.

So unless you have I really GOOD reason, you can do what I am going to do and march myself down to the City building and offer my time and energy to help with some of this stuff. Otherwise, do not complain.

Do not say you don't have time or you can't do anything about it. That is just another excuse in a long line of excuses the citizens of this place have used for far too long.

I am sure you have something to offer if you just think about it.


I agree with Wiredmama I remember people in neighborhoods helping each other out. Now all of a sudden a new group of people move in and they do not want to be bothered. Also I remember when the city commissioners got involved in things in the neighborhoods. What happened to this type of city?

local man

Wherever Ms Ard delivers her state of the city address is insignificant, what is significant is that a total transcript of her remarks are provided to the general public via the Register.


What Ms Ard does or doesn't do is under the direct leadership of four commissioners who keep her in a job. Those four need to take on some leadership and accountability and start directing Ms Ard. There are too many things on hold and the public hasn't a clue as to what is going on with their own government. It is all about leadership. The citizens have a right to be informed.

DEEPsix's picture

Hoty wants city hall moved so they can buy the property and build more boat starage facilities, and create no jobs for the city... how many jobs has Hoty created along the shoreline with their storage monsters, and how pretty do they look down there? There should be 20 or more apt & condos buildings, ALSO SHOPS, A WHARF, BUSINESSES....all over 20 stories high along the bay front. Instead you have a collective dump! Thank Marcy Kaptur for helping build another Harbour front like she voted to help Baltimore with 3 BILLION DOLLARS.


I am just asking, but are you sure that Hoty wants to buy the property that now holds the city hall and all the rest you have posted? Its the first time anyone has brought this up that I have heard about it. This is very interesting. If this is all true, it would be a lousy thing to have there. I am not saying it isn't true, so please don't take offense.


Why don't you ask Smitty?


I am asking the person who apparently is IN the know.


@paved paradise? ....Why are you so concerned on who I ask? What business is it of yours anyway? Since you are so intent on who I ask, do YOU know? Is what he said true? Or is this just another comment based on fiction?


Smitty is leading the charge to move City Hall. You know that. So he would be the one to ask.

Julie R.

Has the SR heard anything on the Sandusky housing scandal yet?

Matt Westerhold

It seems pretty obvious now, given it's been years, that there never was any investigation nor any intention to ever hold anyone accountable for the loss of about $4 million. 


Who would be the person responsible for any investigation into that, Matt?

Julie R.

Wouldn't it be the prosecutor Kevin Baxter?


Then why has he not investigated this matter and gone after the money?


which department was involved in this? I don't remember?


Community Housing Improvement Program
"City commissioners said they're still hoping to recoup some of the funds through insurance claims."
"The city contracted Mike Murman and Associates to conduct an investigation."

Why are the powers that be always hiring private law firms at great expense? Why didn't the county prosecutor get involved or even Ohio state officials? It was all swept under the rug.
"The Office of the Inspector General began its investigation into the city's housing scandal in 2008, and city commissioner Dave Waddington's frustration boiled over this week about the lack of progress."


Who headed the Community Housing Improvement Program. This all went on when we lived in AZ so I have no idea what happened or who was involved. Was this a department or something set up by someone? Who headed this? Names?


Use the computer to your advantage and search on this site Sandusky Housing Scandal

"When commissioner Dan Kaman asked for a "ballpark figure" as to what the housing investigation cost the city, finance director Ed Widman replied it was in the range of $60,000 for three outside legal consultants, including Murman and Associates of Lakewood."


why do they always use Murman? Don't they have someone HERE who go do the work?


"City commissioners said they're still hoping to recoup some of the funds through insurance claims."

Did the insurance claim pay anything? If so, how much if any?

The Answer Person

Ms. Ard has been busy dealing with time wasters who constantly ask inane questions.


Sharon is obviously a journalist rather than a politician. Quit riding her like she is a new pony. She also brings up valid questions. You don't think your commissioners read this paper and her blog? Get behind her instead of telling her to be a politician. She is pointing things out that need to be addressed.

The Answer Person

@luvblues2. Thanks but no thanks! I have no intention of "getting behind her". Feel free to list all of her accomplisments rather than endorsing her narrow griping and offering your endless platitudes. Thanks and have a great new year!


I don't see her griping as narrow. Also, she isn't required to be "part of the solution" to offer her opinion. We have freedom of speech. Sharon is exercising her freedom of speech and willing to put her name behind it. Good for her.


Did you ever think that just maybe the city was not insured for employee theft back then? Someone needs to look into what the BORMA insurance policy stated. The insurance should have covered employee theft. I would like to know if the city was under insured at the time of the theft. There was no evidence that the insurance paid anything out on the housing claim. I could never figure out why the insurance didn't cover the loss. The whole thing still remains a big mystery. Most people have been discharged who were involved, but they were never held accountable.

Just a Girl

Take a look at Ms Ard's report card in Sunday's Register. This woman looked so good on paper and I had high hopes for her. We had no city mgr, no fire chief, and no police chief when she interviewed. Seemed like the city would get back on its feet. But she's doing a poor job. Could we hire someone local now who both knows and cares about our city?