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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 6 months, 1 week 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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2westsiderscare(35 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago

As a proud parent of a developmentally disable child, I think it is my right to know why Mr. Duck stepped down and why he has received such a huge severnce pay. It makes a parent feel uneasy and distressed that there might be some wrong doing. Why does everything have to be behind closed doors? If he has done nothing wrong, why is he leaving. Mr Duck states "he would rather be working than collect money sitting at home." If he feels so strong about this and the love of his position why even take the severence offered by the board. This has a great impact during election time. People are not going to vote on issues regarding the MCBDD knowing someone in getting paid for not doing his job and all the secrecy.

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3Knightcap(697 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago

That headline alone should give people reason for not voting for any type of tax increase. One just has to look at what goes on in Youngstown with that 2.3/4% income tax, WRTA empty buses, Library raises, county raises, Austintown wanting to tear down a good school and tax the property owners more, and this severance package, give me a freakin break.

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42muchtax(320 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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5UNCOMMONSENSE(364 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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6grand4dad(196 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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7grazor50(56 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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8Photoman(1003 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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9boardbegone(6 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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10BlackPalm(8 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago

The Board had to pay Mr. Duck the remainder of his contract. They apparently all agreed they did not like the direction the organization was going under the leadership of Mr. Duck.
The continual outsourcing of services, the decreases in staff at the workshops which are individuals that provide direct care to the developmentally disabled. The increase in staff in administration that have no real job duties. The hiring of individuals that have no experience with the developmentally disabled into workshop supervisory positions. The hiring of public retirement double dippers into administrative positions are just some of the things that have been going on under Mr. Duck and his HR director. He needs to go immediately. The program is in complete disarray and has been on a downward spiral for several years. The board of stooges should have never given Mr. Duck another contract. If it were not for a new board member in 2012 this downward spiral under Mr. Duck would be continuing. There are now two new board members and hopefully more replacements. Maybe the organization can turn around with new leadership with replacement of old board members that have contributed to this morass.
Of course if you were appointed to a do nothing position in administration and a double dipper that doesn't live in Mahoning County and participate in the daily coffee clutchers meetings you will not agree to any my comments.

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11DwightK(1256 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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12boardbegone(6 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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13boardbegone(6 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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14dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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15tired56(12 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago

I completely agree with DwightK. There are way too many people playing behind closed doors and not letting the taxpayers, and this individual involved, Mr. Duck, know what is really going on. This continues to happen all over our local government and nonprofits.

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16Hmmmmm(48 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago

Blackpalm speaks with forked tongue,,, all bs.For a program in dissary, a carryover and No loss of services is not bad at all. the board screwed up and had to pay. Poor legal advice from the honorable Sammarone,, he should be fired and the 5 commissioner appointments should resign.They are defending their poor decisions with the taxpayers dollars,,, if it was their money they would never had done this !!!

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17grand4dad(196 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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18Hmmmmm(48 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago

Mr Duck is a foolish man.He thought he could work 60 to 70 hours a week, be involved in the community, work the monthly dances , with his wife, to name just a few of the things that he did for the DD population. He thought he could make a difference for the better. What a fool. All he had to to was suck up to a few Board members, and their honorable Atty Sammarone. Foolish man,,, he should have given cash contributions to politicians,,, he stiil could be working ,,, get along , dumb guy ..

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19boardbegone(6 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week 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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20tired56(12 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago

Hmmmm...that is exactly what pretty much every workplace is like. Government is the worst, but it happens in every other type of organization including non-profits and the public sector. We just want to hold the government up to a higher standard, and we should. But don't be fooled the nonprofits are also doing it with public money. We should be scrutinizing them just as much as the government.

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21Hmmmmm(48 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago


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22Hmmmmm(48 comments)posted 6 months, 1 week ago

Yes I agree.We will have to watch and see who this sorry BOARD hires.If they do an honest search and hire the best qualified person, or just one of their friends that is close to retiring and wants to max out their retirement. My bad.

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