MANSFIELD — Richland County Children Services Executive Director Randy Parker will receive a $42,000 severance payment as part of his separation agreement with the agency’s board.
Board members voted Monday to approve the agreement and mutual release of claims with Parker, who has been with Children Services since August 2002. After a 90-minute executive session, the vote was 11-0. Member Pam Siegenthaler was absent.
On May 16, the board voted to place Parker on paid administrative leave. He will remain on that status until Aug. 8. The lump sum payment of $42,000 will be paid by Aug. 24.
The board, which did not give a reason for putting Parker on paid leave, issued a statement after Monday’s meeting.
“Randy Parker has served as the executive director of Richland County Children Services for 10 years, with many accomplishments that have strengthened the agency and benefited its constituency during his tenure,” the statement said. “Nevertheless, Mr. Parker and RCCS acknowledge that change in leadership is inevitable, and that after a successful decade together it is time for their affiliation to come to a conclusion.
“The board is grateful for Mr. Parker’s direction, and the fact that the agency will continue with new leadership should not diminish Mr. Parker’s valuable contributions over the last decade. The board wishes him every success as he moves forward in his career.”
Under terms of the agreement, the board agrees not to interfere with any future job search by Parker. Further, if the agency receives any request for information about Parker’s employment with Children Services, it will provide a neutral letter of reference identifying only dates of employment, positions held and salary information, unless further disclosure is required by law.
The parties also agreed not to file lawsuits against each other. They say the agreement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by either party.
Children Services has been in the news in recent months because of an ongoing dispute with Richland County Juvenile Court Judge Ron Spon. The agency filed an affidavit seeking to disqualify Spon from a dependency case, saying the judge is prejudiced against Parker and Children Services attorney Edith Gilliland. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Spon could remain on the case.
The agency’s board also has seen a number of changes. In December, county commissioners re-appointed two board members but did not re-appoint two others. Commissioners added four board members, increasing membership from 11 to 13.
Board chairwoman Nancy Joyce resigned last month when Parker was placed on leave. She did not give a reason. New board chairman Robert Konstam said after Monday’s meeting he hopes the agency can put the issues in the past.
“The board is of one mind, and we’re pulling together,” he said. “We have a direction we want to move in, and I’m really pleased with that.”
Konstam said there is no time frame to replace Parker. Nikki Harless, the agency’s director of operations, is filling in as interim director.
“We have a person in place with Nikki. She seems to be doing a great job,” Konstam said. “I don’t think there’s a pressing need to do that until we do our homework.”
At the end of Monday’s meeting, the board had a planning session, listing an internal survey of staff as the top priority.
link to original story on the MNJ – http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/20120612/NEWS01/206120313/Parker-s-departure-from-Children-Services-official