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Ex-chief awarded $111K as courtesy



Published: Sat, October 24, 2009 @ 12:09 a.m.

Contract called for no severance pay upon resignation

By JON MOFFETT

Vindicator Staff Writer

CANFIELD — A Mill Creek MetroParks commissioner said a severance package that will pay the park district’s former executive director more than $111,000 was given out of courtesy — and not obligation.

Carl Nunziato, one of three commissioners, said the board approved a plan to give David Imbrogno 11 months of his salary and an additional eight weeks of earned and accrued vacation because of his service to the park district.

Imbrogno will be paid $3,475 every other week from Nov. 1 until Oct. 1, 2010.

The board had no contractual obligation to do so: According to the one-year contract signed Jan. 1, Imbrogno would receive four months’ salary if he was terminated without cause.

The contract also states, “If your employment is terminated by the MetroParks for cause, or if you tender your resignation as Executive Director at any time during the term of this agreement, you will not be entitled to the severance payment.”

Imbrogno resigned during an executive session of the park board Aug. 31. Two of the three park commissioners accepted his resignation at the public meeting that night. Board President Virginia Dailey dissented.

Nunziato said even though it was not required to pay Imbrogno, the board agreed on the severance package.

“We gave him the severance package as an accommodation based on his service and as a sign of appreciation,” Nunziato said.

In an e-mail, Imbrogno said his goal was to help the MetroParks move forward and that he had no agenda.

“I also said that, if the vision and plan that emerged was something which I wanted to be a part of, I would stay for as long as it took to make it happen. However, if it was not such a plan, I would set up the MetroParks for whatever direction they decided upon, and then move on ... The direction is not one which matches my goals for the future. This is why I have decided to move on.”

Nunziato said that Imbrogno and the board entered into a “gentlemen’s agreement” to not divulge details of the resignation, though nothing was formalized in the separation agreement. Nunziato said there was no cause for termination, and the agreement was to keep both sides happy and avoid future legal action.

Imbrogno was not under contract with the park district before the January pact, Dailey said. She added that Imbrogno approached the board last fall about signing a contract. The minutes from a December 2008 board meeting state the board agreed to a contract with Imbrogno. In the minutes, Nunziato is credited as saying Imbrogno would be “evaluated on a regular basis,” that his performance would be “carefully scrutinized” and that the contract would not change Imbrogno’s status as an “at-will employee.”

The motion was suggested by Dailey and was passed unanimously by the board, which was then made up of Dailey, Nunziato and Dr. Rick Shale, whose term expired in January. He was replaced by Jay Macejko, a lawyer and Youngstown’s prosecutor, who did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Nunziato said Imbrogno’s decision to resign was not based on an evaluation from the board.

“He didn’t steal money from the park, and he didn’t offend any employees,” Nunziato said of Imbrogno. “It was a difference of opinion in terms of management style. He did nothing wrong.”

Nunziato said informal discussions about Imbrogno’s possible resignation took place before the board meeting, but nothing was finalized. He added that the severance agreement was drafted a day or two before the August meeting by the law firm of Manchester, Bennett, Powers & Ullman, which represents the park district.

Nunziato said the separation was not personal and was strictly a “management-style” issue.

Dailey was quick to show her support for the former director.

“Mill Creek MetroParks was very fortunate to get a man of Dave Imbrogno’s caliber,” she said. “He is highly regarded in his field, he is an excellent long-term planner and a man with great vision.”

jmoffett@vindy.com


Comments

1Millie(192 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

That award is disgusting.

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2theword(342 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Does money from the mahoning county general fund go to the park district? If so another reason to VOTE NO on the tax.

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3JAB(41 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

They can spend countless dollars, but they can't plow the bike trail so the tax payers can enjoy it during the winter months.

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4rusty(2 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

if these birds don't think i'll remember this when the mill creek tax renewal comes up their sadly mistaken. i hope everyone feels the same.

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5MaryAnne(1 comment)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

No common sense! This is another example of poor decisions made by people entrusted to run things in our area. I'm sure that voters will keep this "courtesy" in mind when we are asked to pass another levy.

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6YanniBGood(12 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

"Courtesy" is opening the door for someone. 111K for someone showing THEM SELF the door leads me to think that there just might be a little more to this very peculiar incident than is being reported here. Yet all said, this really disproves the "fact" that you can't win the lottery without playing I tellya what.

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7Grace(8 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

It is sad how the park is being tainted by a woman who's arrogance and lack of pragmatic thinking skills is legendary. The president of the board has been there way too long and needs to go away. Hopefully Judge Belinky has the brains to figure this out. I hear that Dailey has been bragging about sweet talking Belinky to keep her spot. It seems like Belinky's only appointment to the board so far cares about the park. The other two were appointed by that nutcase Maloney and none of them care, they just like power. Belinky can rectify things if he moves quickly. It would be a horrible injustice if the future tax levy fails because of the losers Maloney appointed to the park board.

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8Grace(8 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Oh yeah, regarding Dailey's comment about how lucky she was to find this guy to hire--wasn't he fired from his last job too? It was the same deal, differences in philosophy. Or to put it in plain English: Imbrogno plans and plans but gets nothing done. Once boards figure this out, he is toast. Now he gets to take Mahoning tax dollars away with him out of state. He is laughing at the stupid park board all the way to the bank! Please fix things Judge Belinky.

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9sue(173 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

This is ridiculous. The next time a park levy comes up I'm voting no !

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10UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

It's easy to spend taxpayer money when you don't have to earn it. It's time for drastic cuts in all government jobs. This award is wrong!!!

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11Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Hey, it's only money . How many taxpayers have to dig deep at tax time to pay those on the public dole ? They seem to think that the taxpayers all have deep well filled pockets . Mill Creek MetroParks needs a serious look as to their spending habits . How much more money are they wasting ?

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12RFederer(116 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Government pay and benefits at ALL levels needs adjusted to BELOW the private sector. It's called PUBLIC SERVICE for a reason and that reason is not to take the taxpayers to the cleaners. This little going away gift hopefully will cause ALL levies to fail. Until the public shows some backbone and outrage over this type of raping of the taxpayers, these parasites will continue to stick it to us. Time for a taxpayer revolt. Vote NO on all levies including the county sales tax.

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