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Developmental disabilities board gives Duck $111,317 separation package

Published: Tue, March 11, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.


Following ethics probe, former superintendent gets severance package

By William K. Alcorn



Larry A. Duck, former superintendent at the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities, walked away from a six-month ethics investigation and the job he had for 13 years with a $111,317 severance package.

After a 50-minute executive session Monday, the board approved a resolution with a separation package for Duck that includes six months of pay, payoff of sick leave and personal days owed to him, and six months of paid health insurance.

The resolution, passed unanimously, also thanked Duck “for his loyal services to the board” ... and wished him “well in his future endeavors.”

While on nearly six months of paid administrative leave, Duck was paid more than $10,000 a month based on his $120,636 annual salary. He also had use of a six-passenger van, according to his contract.

Jack Gruber, board president, said that the process took longer than anticipated, but “we didn’t want to make any rash decision. We had some other things come to light” during an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation.

Gruber did not explain what came to light or what initially prompted the investigation.

Board attorney Christopher Sammarone partially answered what the long investigation entailed.

It did not involve any clients or staff, but revolved around Duck “potentially divulging” confidential information during a board meeting. Sammarone would not reveal the exact nature of the incident.

On Sept. 19, 2013, the seven-member board placed Duck on leave “pending the results of an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation.” The board received the results of the ethics probe in December 2013, Gruber said.

He said it was prudent to place Duck on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Gruber said there was no criminal misdemeanor or felony involved, and Duck’s action did not affect students or clients of the program.

Duck, who did not attend the meeting, was reached at home Monday night.

He said he is “proud of the job I did. The place is in good shape financially and program-wise.”

“The ethics thing is troubling because the board never said what happened. However, I know I didn’t do anything wrong, so I’m comfortable. I wish them well and hope they keep it [the program] going,” Duck said.

Duck, who was hired as superintendent March 1, 2001, has no disciplinary entries in his personnel file.

Gruber said the county’s developmental-disabilities board is on solid financial footing, and also said he was impressed with the staff during the investigation.

He gave special thanks to Kristine Hodge, acting superintendent, who said she plans to apply for the superintendent position.

Gruber said the board’s search for a permanent superintendent begins immediately, with the goal of having a new superintendent in place within three months.

With a $26 million annual budget, the MCBDD serves about 1,200 county residents with developmental disabilities.

The Mahoning County Board of Commissioners appoints five of the members, and the other two are appointed by the Mahoning County Probate Court judge.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

All seven members of this board need to walk like Mr. Duck along with their lawyer.

The Commissioners and the Probate Judge ought to be ashamed of their appointees.

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2DontBanThisDrone(734 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

...Duck “potentially divulging” confidential information during a board meeting...

Sounds like some type of "hush" money if you will. They're being awful secretive about why he was placed on leave in the first place, and now a $100,000 payoff. lol


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32muchtax(650 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Another 111000 tax payer money wasted to let off another public employee who did something wrong! Amazing if a private employee does something wrong they get fired, but a public employee gets a large bonus! Wendy web of Ytown school now this bozo! Good job Gruber on wasting tax payer money!

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4UNCOMMONSENSE(523 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

The board needs to explain to the residents of Mahoning County why they wasted $111,000 of their tax dollars to fire this man. It sounds like the board is disabled.

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5grand4dad(209 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

I have always been a supporter of programs such as this. Now I am sorry to say I will not support any more tax levies, not even renewals. There is just no excuse for this type of situation to exist. A supposed investigation for six months just makes no sense at all. And then a severance package of an additional 6 months of salary after having been on paid leave for all that time??? The public deserves an explanation of this mess. It is sad that it is the disabled who will suffer.

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6grazor50(76 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Seems it is easy to give away tax payer money when it is not yours. As the article states, he was already given 6 months pay while on administrative leave, now he gets another 6 months pay and health benefits. it took 3 months for the ethics probe results and then took 3 more months to act on it, to finally award Duck a ridiculous severance package. This government system is full of waste at all levels and the disclosure of expenses once again is none of the business of those that pay. It is time to stop this corruption at all levels, the only thing government understands , is when there is NO money to pass around to each other,,, STOP giving tax renewals and tax increases until things get under control!

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7Photoman(1070 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

It would seem that the more we claim to be rebuilding, the less evidence exists that we are changing for the better. It looks to me like the system would steal the bricks before we could rebuild.

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8boardbegone(6 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

The BOARD needs to resign! How can they justify that the Ethics Committee cleared Mr. Duck of any wrong doing back in December but they continued to pay him money to stay home for no reason. Now, they give him even more money to NOT come back to work; Mr. Duck has wanted to come back to work all along. Mr. Duck has NEVER been accused of any wrong doing; this is all political. The Board should be held accountable for all of this. Mr. Duck had been saying for a year that he was retiring in 2014; they should have just let him go and cut the political nonsense out.

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9DwightK(1376 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm tired of paying taxes to support worthy programs and then getting no accountability from the managers when something happens. If that much tax money is being paid out, someone has to explain why.

It's our money.

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10boardbegone(6 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Mr. Duck established a nepotism policy when first hired; I'm sure that will be one of the first rules to go. The Board wants to be able to hire their friends & relatives; that's what this is all about. As long as Gruber and his sidekicks are there, I'm voting NO on all levies; new or renewal.

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11boardbegone(6 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Reply to BlackPalm; Mr. Duck's contract wasn't over until June, 2015; they didn't pay him out the balance of his contract. That remark as well as most of the other comments you made were totally inaccurate.

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12dontbeafool(1391 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

this chaps my arse. Here is what the two options are.
1. His ethics probe turned out to be nothing or not serious, and he continues to work.
2. His ethics probe was serious enough to be fired, and he receives only what he has coming to him, such as un-used vacation, etc... But to pay him his salary for doing nothing is absurd. Next year they will be asking for a new tax levy and scratch their heads and wonder why people vote no.

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13grand4dad(209 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Just heard an interview on tv with the board president. He stated that Mr. Duck was not fired, he resigned. So let's see . . . he was on paid administrative leave for 6 months, but did nothing wrong criminally or ethically, he's proud of the job he did, the board said he left the programs in good shape. At the end of this, he resigns. So why did he need to get such a big payoff? Something is not right here. This board has a lot of explaining to do.

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14boardbegone(6 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

LOVE comment #18 from Hmmmmm. Mr. Duck really only had to suck up to the two new board members as they are the cause of all of this. Shame on the old board members for not sticking up for the Supt. whom they gave such great evaluations to over the past 13 years. Suddenly, they need to get him out & keep him out of the building even though they won't say what, if anything, he's done wrong. I never knew a board could be so secretive when they are spending the public's money. Good luck in finding a Supt. with morals as good as Mr. Duck has.

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