MCBDD refers action against Supt. Duck to state ethics panel

By William K. Alcorn

and Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities members and managers are mum about the circumstances that led to Superintendent Larry Duck’s being placed on paid administrative leave.

The board took the action during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, and referred the matter to the Ohio Ethics Commission, said board attorney Christopher Sammarone.

Duck’s salary is $120,636 a year, according to the Mahoning County Auditor’s office. He was hired March 1, 2001.

Kristine Hodge, assistant superintendent, is acting superintendent pending the outcome of the Ohio Ethics Commission’s investigation.

A spokesman for the Ohio Ethics Commission would neither confirm nor deny that a charge has been lodged against Duck.

However, when the commission does receive a charge, it is reviewed to determine of there is a potential violation under its jurisdiction, which are conflicts of interest and unlawful dealings in public contracts, the spokesman said.

Investigations are confidential until they are referred to local law enforcement for prosecution. If the investigation finds insufficient evidence for prosecution, the case is closed and remains confidential as far as the ethics commission is concerned.

However, the entity that brought the charge and the person charged are notified of the outcome and are free to make it public, the spokesman said.

Before coming to the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities, then known as the Mahoning County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Duck had been executive director of the Burdman Group, a Youngstown-based nonprofit dedicated to helping the mentally ill.

The 2013 budget approved by the board for all funds is $26,572,828.

The agency provides services to some 1,200 county residents with developmental disabilities at no cost. The board owns and operates seven programs ranging from school-age children to adults.

Board members are: Joseph Ignazio, president; Anthony Sertick, vice president; Henrietta Lewis, recording secretary; Jack Gruber; Gary O’Nesti; Joseph Pecchia, and Frank Santisi.

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