County MR/DD superintendent resigns

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 20, 2002

The man whose name is nearly synonymous with help for the handicapped has resigned his position, citing an issue with the governing board over employee compensation policy.

Jimmie Thacker, Superintendent of the Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation/ Development Disabilities submitted his resignation Sept. 17. It was effective immediately.

In his letter, addressed to Board President Gary Dutey and members of the MR/DD Board, Thacker wrote that "You (Dutey) have made it clear that you would do anything within your power to influence the board not to renew my contract unless I agreed to relinquish my rights in the prior contract allowing for my sick leave buyout at the current board policy. You further indicated that you would cause that policy to be changed and attempt to make that change retroactive. There are several administrators who would be potentially affected by such a change in board policy and may not have the financial wherewith to challenge any move by the board. I have therefore decided to resign immediately in hopes these people will not suffer retribution because of the contract this board and I have previously reached."

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Thacker said in his letter that his leaving is with "deep regret… and feelings of sadness… for leaving the work which I love so much and the people who have made this MR/DD program a success."

When contacted by The Ironton Tribune, Dutey said Thacker's resignation took him by surprise.

"I hate it happened. I've been on the board on and off for years and I've worked well with him," he said. "But if that's what he wants to do, then we have to move on."

Dutey denied that Thacker and the board have been at odds over the sick leave buyout policy.

"I don't know where he got that," Dutey said.

According to board rules, Lawrence County Early Childhood Center Director Linda Sechrist is filling Thacker's position and may be offered the job of interim superintendent. The board meets in special session Monday afternoon. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune