Salary Squabble May Cost District Its State Aid
State officials have told the Parsippany-Troy Hills school district that they will withhold its $3.6 million in state aid unless district officials cut the superintendent's salary by $43,000 to fit under a state-mandated salary cap.
The Daily Record of Parsippany reports that the directive was issued Wednesday after it became widely known that Lee Seitz was getting a yearly $220,565 salary under a contract that the school board had rescinded this summer.
Morris County Superintendent Kathleen Serafino told the district that Seitz's salary must be reduced to $177,500 to meet the cap requirement. She also said the additional money set aside for his compensation must be used for instruction related to the core curriculum.
The district also must provide Serafino with a new contract for Seitz and provide her with monthly reports -- which would include paychecks and other documentation -- to prove he's not being overpaid.
The district also must provide her office with a new contract for Seitz, which she must approve. Documents released by the district this week showed that Seitz was paid at a higher rate after his attorney contended his old contract had rolled over because no other contract was in place.
School district officials did not immediately comment on the directive, and Seitz could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
He recently filed a complaint with state education officials, claiming Serafino exceeded her authority by ordering the board to rescind his contract, which was signed last November -- after the state cap was proposed, but many months before it was implemented.
Gov. Chris Christie, who has labeled Seitz as a "poster boy" for greed, confirmed Wednesday that the state would take the action if needed.
"If they don't comply with those orders, we will withhold all of their state school aid," Christie said during an interview
Wednesday afternoon that aired on WCBS AM radio in New York. "If they want to run that risk, I don't think the people of Parsippany will be too happy with them, just because they want to continue to pay an overpaid, over-privileged superintendent."