Former Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center superintendent quits after just 5 hours on job, says it was ‘personal decision’

The now-former Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center superintendent told 19 News it was a “personal decision” to quit just hours into his first day.

Former Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center superintendent quits after just 5 hours on job, says it was ‘personal decision’

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - He started work on Monday and quit just five hours later. The new superintendent of Cuyahoga County’s Juvenile Detention Center didn’t even last a full day on the job.

“His heart just wasn’t in it.”

Those are the words cited in a memo as the reason why Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Superintendent Donald Shewalter quit.

The memo was sent from Administrative Judge Kristin Sweeney, stating they were surprised, but they wish him well.

Shewalter quit after just five hours into his new position.

In the memo, Judge Sweeney stated the system is “better off if our staff know themselves and their own capacities. If a job is not a good fit, it is better for all concerned the sooner that knowledge and/or feeling is acknowledged.

19 News reporter Shannon Houser spoke to Shewalter on the phone. He stated he left after only a few hours because it was a personal decision.

“It was the right thing to do for me and my family,” Shewalter said. “I didn’t want to start something I didn’t believe I could finish and it wouldn’t be fair to the staff or facility to, I guess in my mind, start the train down the tracks and then try to stop it."

Shewalter stated the facility needs work, but said things are improving and getting better.

“I feel that facility is on its way back to being a very good facility and well-ran facility. They have some good people that are in place now and more coming," Shewalter stated. “Of course it needs work, but I don’t have anything negative to say about the current administration and how they’re building a team to fix it.”

Shewalter was replacing Delbert Montgomery who was fired after not even a year on the job.

In January 2018, teens rioted in the detention center causing more than $200,000 damage.

The riots came after a scathing report showing a lack of structure and professionalism in the detention center.

19 News checked the county’s website. The superintendent’s job wasn’t posted, three days after Shewalter’s resignation.

19 News requested interviews with county officials and are waiting to hear back.

Shewalter tells 19 News, for right now, he plans to enjoy retirement.

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