Following ethics probe, former superintendent gets severance package
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.