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2023 Year in Review

The end of 2023 is quickly approaching, and with a few gentle reminders, I am writing this before Dec 31st. That just might be a Christmas miracle! For the better part of eight years, I have recapped the Board of DD’s previous year for friends of the agency. There always seems to be so much to look back on in one year; however, 2023 was even more packed than usual. Part of that was the race to finish five major projects before December 31, 2023. My hope was to tie up as many loose ends as we could so when we turned the calendars to 2024, we would have two major tasks ahead: an accreditation review in March and then the transition to a new superintendent on July 1, 2024. There were lots of days of long hours with many meetings, but I am happy to report we made it to the end and we are ready for 2024.

The first item to report on is a new agency website. For more than a year, we have been discussing a new and improved website. With lots of perseverance, it finally launched in December 2023. The best part is with the new platform we can keep it easily updated in real-time internally. Check it out and give us your thoughts or suggestions for content that might be helpful. The address is This truly is a big endeavor for an agency of our size. We want the space to be easy to use and full of information that is helpful to the user.

Second, was the development of a new Strategic Plan and then the 2024 Annual Action Plan. For anyone that has participated in, or created a Strategic Plan for a company, you know this can be laborious to add to the already overfilled schedules. Plus, you can go big, with full on community events and input from all stakeholders, or plan something on a smaller scale that is manageable in-house for the most part. Truly, my hope was to have the next plan be more comprehensive, but we had to work on a small scale again this year due to many other priorities. Most importantly was that the strategic direction for the next three years and beyond should include the new leadership for the agency. The dates of the current Strategic Plan expiring and the hiring of the new Superintendent did not match up well so we worked with a consultant for a daylong planning session. We then developed a plan on a smaller scale, but it is still very robust in all we hope to achieve. This will give the new leader time to settle in and plan for 2026. You can find both the 2024-2026 Strategic Plan and the 2024 Annual Action Plan at Third, and going along with the strategic plan topic, is the agency services survey system. In 2022, a key position turned over and it took much of the following year to develop a new survey for those we serve, families, providers and community partners. A new survey of our 2023 services launched in December. If you did not get a survey in the mail or via email, you can find it on the new website at We truly do want to hear how we are doing. We also want to hear suggestions for improvement or new services.

The next goal for 2023 was the appointment of a person eligible for services to the Board of DD. Mrs. Linda Lehman completed her maximum 12 years allowed as a board member in December 2023. With new legislation passed in 2023, requiring a person eligible for services be appointed, we offered three sessions called Board Leadership 101 so anyone completing these sessions would feel comfortable serving on any community board, including the Board of DD. It was a true joy to meet with the five people who participated in this leadership series. Beginning January 1, 2024, Melissa Place will serve on the Allen County Board of DD for her first term. Melissa is a great addition to the Board with her knowledge of access in Ohio for citizens with physical disabilities and her 19 years as a dietetic tech. Melissa said at her oath-of-office ceremony that she is very excited to represent persons with disabilities on the Board and hopes to speak up for others that cannot do so. This is a truly historic time for the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities that a person receiving services is joining the other six members on the Board.

Last, and certainly not least, was the appointment of the next Superintendent for the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities. On December 19, 2023, the Board announced that Tyson J. Goings was selected to serve as the Assistant Superintendent for six months first, and then on July 1, 2024, will become the 10th superintendent in the history of the Allen County Board of DD. This will give Tyson and myself six months to transition all the duties before my final day as Superintendent on June 30th. Tyson has worked at the Board in the role of Behavioral Support Consultant, so replacing him in that role is the first goal underway.

Those five accomplishments were only the past six months! In the first six months of 2023, we hired the successor for Martha Nance, the long-time business director who will retire on April 3, 2024. Chris Calvelage has been appointed as the new Director of Business. Chris returned to her roots in the Business Office to plan for this very important transition. We also spent time with a small restructure due to vacancies and movement within the agency. We saw several long-term employees retire. All are dearly missed. Some of these changes gave us the chance to look at our processes in new ways. There is rarely an easy fix to any need with our workforce; however, we have dependable employees who give selflessly to those we serve every day. With a staff of 80, we will always be in the recruiting and training mode, and that is okay, as there are always new friends to introduce to the field of DD and all we provide in Lima/Allen County. It is projected that one-third of our workforce will retire in the next ten years. Even more reason to continue with the assessment of all our systems and processes each time a vacancy occurs.  

Along with human resource needs, we did finish the last of our office renovation projects. The 2023 project involved the Administration Building that desperately needed new windows, lighting, larger meeting space for the Board, and several other improvements. That completes, in the last 7 years, upgrades to all the office space the Board employees occupy at 2500 and 2550 Ada Rd. Because of the older buildings on the Board campus, we continually are assessing the roofs, HVAC, parking lots and other such areas. There is only one project on the horizon in 2024.

The last item to mention in this yearly recap is the tireless work that occurred January through June for the new state budget. Our Board was very engaged at every step of the way, to advocate for increases in waiver rates that would sustain a higher wage for the Direct Support Professionals. The strength of the DD system is found in the quality staff that work every day with individuals and families. We could not be prouder of the final budget and how this will impact the DD system. There was a large financial commitment from the county board of developmental disabilities’ system for the new rates, and for all the waiver service flexibilities that are in place since 2020. At this time, the Allen County Board of DD remains financially strong and able to meet the needs of eligible individuals, birth to the end of life. It is because of all of you, and our community, that we can do what we do. Thank you does not cover it, but please know how grateful we are for what you entrust us with every day.

Here’s to wonderful start of a new year….2024. 



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