Gov. Christie to Visit Township After BOE Upholds Seitz Contract
Governor's office confirms he'll be in Parsippany Friday afternoon for a town hall meeting.
Gov. Chris Christie's office confirmed Thursday that the governor will speak in Parsippany Friday afternoon, two days after the school board voted not to rescind the contract of school superintendent LeRoy Seitz.
Christie will appear at the Morris County Public Safety Academy at 500 Hanover Ave. for a town hall meeting at 2:30 p.m.
Christie, who has repeatedly lambasted Seitz as the "poster boy for greed and arrogance,'' will be discussing the "tool kit'' of bills needed to support the state's 2 percent property tax cap, according to Michael Drewniak, the governor's press secretary.
"You can also count on hearing about the governor's education reform proposals, including the cap on superintendent salaries,'' he added in an e-mail to Patch.
School board member Michael Strumolo said he invited the governor to Parsippany.
When Christie arrives, Stromolo vowed to ask him to freeze Seitz's contract, and the contracts of all school administrators in districts where boards gave approval after Christie announced a proposed $175,000 salary cap on school administrators.
"I'm going to ask him, are you going to invoke executive privelege,'' declared Stromolo, who said he negotiated the Christie visit with help from Morris County Republican Chairman John Sette.
On Wednesday, Parsippany school officials voted not to rescind the Seitz contract after board attorney Mark A. Tabakin announced that the state Attorney General's Office had requested the BOE wait ten days until the state can respond to the board's lawsuit.
The suit, filed last week, challenges the state's authority to prohibit Parsippany from approving a pay hike that exceeds Christie's proposed salary cap.
Under the contract, Seitz's salary will jump from $212,000 to $216,000 this year and $234,000 by 2015.
"It's disturbing to me that he..would meddle with an autonomous body on this level,'' said School Board President Anthony Mancuso. "I supported the governor in the election. I went to his victory party at the Parsippany Hilton. But I don't understand why he is singling out Parsippany when the superintendent in his own district got a contract that exceeds the cap.''
Last month, the school board in Christie's hometown of Mendham Township approved a hike for Superintendent of Schools Kristopher Harrison, who would have faced a $20,00 pay cut from his $160,800 salary. In that district, the proposed cap is $145,000 because the school system is smaller.
Mancuso said he won't be attending Christie's town meeting Friday.
According to Drewniak, this is the 15th town hall devoted to Christie's fall reform agenda.
"He will be talking about the need for the Democratically controlled legislature to move bills to reform the arbitration process and civil service and others that are a part of the so-called "tool kit,''" Drewniak said. "Without those bills being passed, municipalities will have a very difficult time adhering to the 2 percent cap without large-scale layoffs and service cutbacks. ''