Developmental Disabilities Supt. Young Will Leave Job at End of Contract

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Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities Supt. Eric Young announced Tuesday afternoon that he will be leaving his post when his contract is up in 20 months.

“At this point in my career it’s time for me to move on and do something else,” Young, who has been superintendent since 2010, told The Messenger.

He added he would be moving on to other employment, “likely in the same or a similar field.”

On Tuesday, a news release issued on behalf of Young and the board indicated that the board intends to create the temporary position of assistant superintendent to help with the transition.

The board scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday night, during which the board planned to enter into executive session. Young confirmed to The Messenger that the board would be seeking internal candidates first for the assistant superintendent job. Details on the meeting’s outcome will appear online Wednesday and in Thursday’s print edition of The Messenger.

When Young began as superintendent, he, too, was first an assistant superintendent and stayed in that capacity for a little more than a year, he said.

“I will be assisting with the transition for a new superintendent for the person who is selected (for the assistant superintendent position),” he added.

After the assistant superintendent is hired, and Young finishes the last 20 months of his contract, the assistant superintendent position would eventually be abolished, as the person would then move to the superintendent position, he explained.

“This (assistant superintendent) is not a stand-alone position,” Young stressed. “If someone internally meets the criteria (for the assistant superintendent job), they could do their current duties, then as time permits, start taking on additional assistant superintendent duties as well,” he said.

In the news release, clarifications about “transitional leadership changes” were announced.

“The ACBDD and our current superintendent anticipate a leadership transition in the final 20 months of the current superintendent’s contract as he is planning to leave the agency to pursue other endeavors,” the release reads.

“The goal is to minimize disruption in leadership and give the board time to consider all options in making a transition. The assistant superintendent position is intended to be a temporary bridging position, which is why we have started by seeking an internal applicant,” the release adds.

With the hiring of an assistant superintendent, salary will be adjusted for some employees, according to the release, on a temporary basis. The organization will try to hire internally before seeking external candidates.

“In order to minimize disruption to leadership, the job descriptions for the superintendent and assistant superintendent are being adjusted to move operational duties as quickly as possible from the superintendent to the assistant superintendent,” the release states. “The superintendent maintains all duties required in Revised Code. The position descriptions are still in draft form and will evolve once we have a contract with an assistant superintendent and we determine exactly how duties can be distributed and over what time.”

Following the emailed news release, Autumn Brown, an employee with Advocacy Training Careers Opportunity (ATCO), said the release is unclear as to the intentions of whether a search will be made for a superintendent when Young leaves or whether the new assistant superintendent would automatically assume the role.

“The past process included our employees, individuals served and other stakeholders who were afforded the opportunity to be a part of the process,” Brown wrote in a email conversation. “In the fast and behind the scenes method this position was decided, it seems no one has been afforded the opportunity to have input into the position or the plans for this transitional process.”

When a superintendent position becomes open, the state now requires a board to explore sharing superintendent services with another county and then look at hiring one if that is not possible, Board President John Day said in the email conversation which was also sent to The Messenger.

Day contradicts Young’s statement that the assistant superintendent would move into the superintendent’s role when Young leaves.

“This assistant superintendent position is not an automatic transition to the actual superintendent job, as we did with Eric (Young). So this basically keeps all options open and once we have an actual opening, we have more time to go through a process … given the difficulty in finding superintendents, the assistant superintendent position would also give us a back-up that we can use as long as it takes to get the superintendent that is best for the county while not needing to rush to hire,” Day stated via email.

Young then followed up on the email conversation saying, “This plan also assures that someone is prepared to take over should I happen to leave sooner rather than later.”

Before 2009, for approximately 20 years, Young was program director at the Gallipolis Developmental Center, a state-operated residential facility for persons with developmental disabilities.