New director for children's services agency could be near

J Swygart, The Lima News, Ohio
·2 min read

Feb. 23—LIMA — The board of directors of the Allen County Children Services agency plans to announce its recommendation of an individual to fill the position of executive director in the near future.

The Allen County commissioners received that news Tuesday from Nadia Lampton, chairperson of the Children Services board, during a regularly-scheduled commissioners' meeting.

Commissioner Beth Seibert said it is her understanding that 24 applications were received for the executive director's position. Of that total, the children service's board selected five people to interview. Two of those applicants stepped away from the process, and three were interviewed.

Seibert said she expects the announcement of a full-time director to come "very shortly."

The agency has been without a full-time executive director since last summer, when former director Cynthia Scanland was fired following an external investigation found reason to believe that agency staff failed to follow established protocol in the case of Jeremy Kindle and Scott Steffes, foster parents who adopted three boys, ages 3 through 8, through Children Services.

An Allen County grand jury in July handed down a combined 127 felony sex-related charges against the two men.

The Allen County Children Services board of directors on Aug. 21 voted to terminate Scanland's employment. She signed an agreement that provided her with three and a half months of severance pay based on her annual salary of $113,060. The board also accepted the resignations of program administrators Brent Bunke and Staci Nichols at that same time.

Scanland was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of tampering with records, all felonies of the third degree; a fifth-degree felony charge of obstructing official business and a misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty.

The state alleges that on three separate occasions the former director did "with the purpose to defraud or knowing she was facilitating a fraud on Allen County Job & Family Services, falsify, destroy, remove, conceal, alter, deface or mutilate any writing, computer software, data or record."

Sarah Newland has been serving as the interim director at the agency since last summer.

The commissioners also learned Tuesday that one vacancy exists on the Children Services board following the resignation earlier this month of Melissa Holthaus. Seibert said anyone in the community who has interest in serving on the board is asked to contact the county commissioners or the Children Services agency. Whoever is appointed will fill the remainder of Holthaus' term that expires in April 2022.