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Published: Friday, 12/10/2004

Fulton County MRDD board charges suspended chief

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Pfhal Pfhal
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WAUSEON - Fulton County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities yesterday charged its superintendent with inefficiency, insubordination, dishonesty, neglect of duty, and misfeasance.

The board listed 23 incidents that led to the five charges in a memo to Superintendent Dan Pfahl, who has been on paid administrative leave since Nov. 30.

After meeting behind closed doors for about 40 minutes, the board voted unanimously to hold a predisciplinary conference with Mr. Pfhal on Monday, when he is to have the opportunity to refute the charges.

Much of that meeting is expected to be held behind closed doors, unless Mr. Pfahl requests that it be in public session.

Mr. Pfahl did not attend yesterday's meeting and did not return a call from The Blade after the meeting.

He was hired as superintendent 18 months ago and moved to Wauseon from Ottawa County, where he had been employed in the county disabilities agency there.

This week he put his home on Fairway Court up for sale.

According to the board's charges, Mr. Pfhal:

• Did not follow board policy regarding expenses of more than $1,000 on numerous occasions, transferred money between accounts in violation of board policy, and misinformed the board about the financial condition of one of its programs.

●Failed to take appropriate disciplinary action regarding a report of abuse.

●Made inappropriate and unprofessional comments regarding hiring a business manager and used inappropriate criteria in dismissing candidates for the position.

●Made inappropriate and unprofessional comments to staff in front of others regarding their lifestyle and undermined the authority of program directors by making demeaning comments about them in the presence of staff.

●Negligently disciplined an employee based upon violations of a policy that had since been replaced, thus resulting in rescinding the disciplinary action.

Many of the other incidents the board cited in its letter of charges revolve around Mr. Pfhal allegedly misinforming or failing to inform the board and making inappropriate remarks.

Disabilities board President Lisa Meeker said the board is not in financial difficulty because of Mr. Pfahl's actions.

Equal employment complaints were filed against the disabilities agency this fall by a current employee, a terminated employee, and a substitute employee who was passed over for a permanent position with the agency.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:

jschmucker@theblade.com

or 419-337-7780.



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