MCBDD settlement costs taxpayers over $111,000 - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

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MCBDD settlement costs taxpayers over $111,000

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The superintendent of the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities will receive over $150,000 in taxpayer dollars after an investigation which began in September 2013 and ended the middle of December of the same year.

The investigation done by the Ohio Ethics Commission found no criminal wrong doing, but the MCBDD board will not reveal more about why it wanted superintendent Larry Duck out.

There was standing room only as the MCBDD went into executive session and voted to accept the resignation of Larry Duck who had been head of the agency for 13 years.

Parents of children and adults who rely on services of the agency, along with employees and former employees wanted answers. Mary Jo Nagy said, "For six years, Duck refused to negotiate fairly and give any raises to employees. Now he sits on a paid vacation to the tune of $50,000." Nagy retired from the agency, but emphasized she was speaking on behalf of employees who fear retribution.

21 News requested records from the Mahoning County Auditor's Office on February 28, 2014 which showed Duck had been paid over $45,000 since he had been placed on paid administrative leave for an undisclosed reason on September 20, 2013.

Duck told reporter Janet Rogers that he would rather be helping the more than 1,000 kids and adults who depend on services than sitting at home. He referred all other questions to his attorney. For 13 years Duck ran the agency with a $27 million dollar budget and has had no bad reviews in his personnel file.

When the board came out of executive session, it thanked Duck for his service. The Board reached a settlement agreement with Duck and his attorney who were not present that upon his resignation he receives a severance package of six month pay and 35 percent of his unused sick leave. The amount for sick time is a standard amount public employees receive due to state laws. The total amount he will be paid for resigning is about $111,317. In addition, Duck's COBRA, or health care payments, will be paid for six months.

The settlement is due to the fact that the Ohio Ethics investigation, which the board says was investigating procedural matters, found no serious wrongdoing.

MCBDD Board President Jack Gruber says there were no misdemeanor violations or felony charges indicated on the report from the Ohio Ethics Commission.

The MCBDD board won't say why members wanted him out, claiming it's confidential. But some speculate this had to do with politics. The board denies that.

The attorney for the board, Chris Sammarone, said the allegations did not involve students at the centers, or finances.

The board will begin its search for a new superintendent by placing a call on Tuesday to the Ohio Board of Superintendents. Some members of the board have talked with a prior superintendent about the job.

Meanwhile, the president of the union that represents workers says she wants residents and taxpayers to know that workers are committed to the wellbeing and safety of the people who depend on services the agency provides.

21 News has requested the opinion released by the ethics commission to the MCBD. The board says it relied on an opinion by Mahoning Prosecutor Paul Gains who says it is not a public record. 21 News was told by the Ohio Ethics Commission that it cannot legally release any findings due to the state statutes, however when the ethics commission releases or sends its findings to the prosecutor or board, then it becomes a public record. 21 News will continue to seek those records.

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