DD board chairman: Mahoning commissioners don't run program

By Peter H. Milliken



The chairman of the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities has said emphatically his board, not the county commissioners, runs the county’s DD programs.

But Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said the commissioners want to be kept informed on developmental-disabilities board matters as the DD board selects a new superintendent to replace Larry Duck, who resigned last month.

“At the risk of not being re-appointed when my tenure is up, the commissioners do not run the program. The board runs the program,” said Jack Gruber, developmental-disabilities board chairman.

Gruber is an appointee of the county commissioners. His term expires three years from now.

Gruber made his terse comments in a brief interview as he and other DD board members were being summoned into an hourlong executive session with the county commissioners Thursday on personnel matters.

The commissioners appoint five of the seven DD board members; the county probate judge appoints the other two.

“We’re not fully informed. We need to be. We will be,” Righetti vowed.

“We have had many complaints” about personnel matters at the DD board, which commissioners want addressed, Righetti said, declining to elaborate on the executive-session discussion.

The meeting came the day after the release of an employee-satisfaction survey report, in which the employees expressed dissatisfaction with their senior management but satisfaction with their jobs and immediate supervisors.

Forty of 300 DD board employees completed the survey, which the board commissioned at a cost of up to $7,500 last Sept. 19 — the day the DD board put Duck on paid administrative leave.

The survey was conducted by Rachel L. Livengood of Troy, Ohio, former Mahoning County human-resources director.

After five months on paid administrative leave from his $120,636-a-year job, Duck resigned with a $111,317 severance package that included six months’ pay, cash for sick leave and personal days and six months’ paid health insurance.

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