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Fired School Administrator Sues State, Charging Retaliation

Ralph Goodwin says he lost his job because he told the truth during a hearing over the disputed contract of former Parsippany Superintendent LeRoy Seitz.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

A former Morris County business administrator says he lost his job because of a dispute regarding the contract of former Parsippany School Superintendent LeRoy Seitz, according to a lawsuit made public last Friday in Superior Court in Morristown, reported by NJ.com.

Ralph Goodwin was the interim county business administrator for the state education department and he says he was fired as retaliation for being honest in an administrative law hearing.

In October 2010, Kathleen Serafino, who was the state superintendent for Morris County, agreed to a 5-year contract that would give Seitz a $225,604 annual salary, but she said she did not sign off on it when Gov. Chris Christie announced a salary cap, according to NJ.com.

Under a statewide salary cap, administrators in districts the size of Parsippany cannot make more than a base rate of $175,000.

However, when Seitz sued over the salary reduction, Goodwin testified during the administrative law hearing that the contract was approved, according to NJ.com.

Business Administrator Ralph Goodwin retired from the Chatham School Board in August. 2010 after six years and Chatham Superintendent Jim O'Neill described Goodwin as "knowledgeable, honest, hardworking" and "diligent."

steve revette December 09, 2013 at 07:18 PM
How can this guy be serious? He has no authority to authorize the contract because he was the business administrator. He's not the county superintendent. If he said the contract was approved it sounds like him being fired was the right thing because he caused all that mess up.
Jeff December 09, 2013 at 08:05 PM
He didn't authorize. Article was about him noting in a hearing that the Seitz contact had been authorized or approved by Serafino - even though Serafino denies it ever had her sign-off and retaliation about breaking ranks in his office. Someone is not stating the truth and he wants the courts help to offset.
Kevin Brancato December 10, 2013 at 07:43 AM
Ms Tran, I don't understand why The Patch is not reporting more Parsippany news? What happened at the BOE meeting on last Thursday for instance? I'm sure there was more than the check being donated by the education association? Where is the article on James Carifi making a deal to return the files he took as was reported in NJ.com. I mean what's really happening instead of the fluff that's being reported. Gosh you are getting scooped by not only Nj.com but the Focus as well. I guess I have to leave your readership which is a shame because I used to enjoy being informed by reading the Patch.. Anyone else feel the same? Please speak up..
David Comora December 10, 2013 at 08:04 AM
Its good that this information is finally coming out. It sounds as if Ms Serafino has some explaining to do. Our BOE said all along that she gave an approval of the Seitz contract. It seems as if Governor Christie pressured her to recant that approval. This misadventure cost our district a very capable superintendent, leading us to the "lost years" of our BOE. Thankfully that is coming to an end very soon.
Andrew Choffo December 10, 2013 at 08:57 AM
Mr. Comora - that was very well said.
Mike December 10, 2013 at 09:13 AM
Kevin, I was just about to say the same thing about Carifi. NJ.com, the DailyRecord, and the Focus had this out since last Friday. I'm not about to pay to read the Record and when Natalie was here she usually had the news within the next day. I am sure I am not the only one that misses her.
Mike Kertesz December 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM
I agree with Dave Comora, and a lot of people did not know what they lost till it was gone!

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