By Ed Runyan
The attorney for the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities said the “isolated issue” that led to former Superintendent Larry Duck being investigated by the Ohio Ethics Commission was not a remark made at a public meeting.
“It had to do with the release of confidential information,” Atty. Chris Sammarone said. “The question was whether it was released or not.”
He and Jack Gruber, board president, were both asked at a Friday night board meeting for more specifics regarding the type of confidential information involved, but both declined.
Gruber said only that Duck’s resignation was “his own decision” and he was not let go. “It was a mutual decision between the board and Mr. Duck,” he said.
The Ohio Ethics Commission advised the board that Duck’s conduct didn’t involve commission of a misdemeanor or felony offense. The board placed Duck on paid leave in September when the issue arose.
The ethics commission released its findings to the board in December. The settlement agreement finalized at the meeting, with Gruber’s signature, pays Duck $111,317 in severance, including six months pay, cash for sick leave and personal days and six months of paid health insurance.
The board went into executive session for about an hour Friday. When it returned, it took no action, but it released a position-opening statement which said the board will accept letters of interest from candidates to replace Duck.
Deadline to apply through the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities is April 4.
Candidates are asked to write a letter of qualifications, resume, references and other information.
Katrina Montero, vice president of the Mahoning Educational Association for Developmental Disabilities, which represents employees of the board, said her organization felt Duck was fair to workers.
“He and his wife were always doing something supportive for the clients and our students,” she said. “If Larry didn’t do anything [wrong], we’d gladly like to see him come back.”
John Beal, whose son is part of the No Limits Alternative Center supervised by the board, said he thought Duck did a good job and says he is concerned about the negative publicity the incident has brought to the board, especially the perception early on that Duck had been fired “when it was a mutual separation.”