Search begins for new MCBDD leader

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The search for a new superintendent has started at the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

The board announced Monday that Larry Duck’s contract would be terminated immediately after he was on paid leave for nearly six months.

The entire WKBN investigative team has been working to find more answers after the departure of the former superintendent. Reporter Matt Horn reached out to the board’s attorney Chris Sammarone several times Tuesday morning, but he never returned any calls.

But, Horn did have a one-on-one interview with board President Jack Gruber, who said Duck was not fired, but rather resigned.

Taxpayers will pay nearly $160,000 to Duck. The total includes paid time off since September and six months of severance pay. On top of that, taxpayers will be responsible for six months of health care for Duck.

Many have accused the board of making this decision because of political reasons, but Gruber disagrees.

“We did not have any politics involved with anything that was done. It was strictly evaluating information that was brought to our attention,” Gruber said.

Along with WKBN’s investigative team, Horn searched through Duck’s personnel file. No negative remarks were found.

Since then, we have been working to get updated information, including the reason the Ohio Ethics Commission was brought in to investigate.

“Some other items came up after we received the results from the ethics commission,” Gruber said.

Officials at the MCBDD remain tight-lipped on the reason Duck was let go, referring all questions to Sammarone.

Since Monday’s meeting, Sammarone has backpedaled from statements he made on why Duck was placed on leave. On Monday, Sammarone said Duck may have potentially divulged private information about a board member at a public meeting. He now denies that remark, but offered no explanation.

The search for the new superintendent will be done with help from the Ohio State Board of Superintendents.

 

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