MRDD BOARDS Nonprofit group dismisses its CEO



The dismissal followed a two-month probe by a newspaper.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- The nonprofit group for county boards that serve Ohioans with developmental disabilities has dismissed its chief executive over ties between the association and the CEO's for-profit company.
The trustees of the Ohio Association of County Boards of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities also revoked its contract with Charles Arndt's business, Leadership First Academy for Executive Development in MRDD, a training and consulting firm.
Arndt's dismissal Wednesday followed a two-month investigation by The Columbus Dispatch, which said the state and counties paid Arndt's company more than $1.4 million since 2001 while the nonprofit association paid many of the company's expenses.
The board earlier had given permission for Arndt to run both the association and the company out of the same office in suburban Worthington.
Arndt, who started the association more than 20 years ago, has been on sick leave for a month. Arndt and his attorney, John Marshall, could not be reached for comment Wednesday by the Dispatch. A phone listing for Arndt could not be found in the Columbus area.
Agreement
Arndt's termination agreement provides $18,763 in severance pay, health insurance for six months and his laptop computer, but forfeits his right to sue the association.
The association kept its ability to file claims against Arndt, who agreed to cooperate with civil or criminal investigations.
"We did what we felt we had to do," said Dave Dohnal, board vice president. "Some of the management practices, quite frankly, we felt needed tightening up."
The association operates on about $3 million in annual dues and assessments from county MRDD boards.
Dohnal said Dan Ohler, a former Ohio MRDD deputy director and assistant CEO, will remain interim executive officer until the board picks a new leader.
Ohio Department of MRDD Director Kenneth Ritchey has ordered a review of the $1.28 million in state and federal funds paid to the county boards association and Leadership First since 2000 to check for questionable expenditures.

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