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School Board Member Asks Governor to Intervene

Michael Strumolo wants Chris Christie to come to Parsippany to address his complaints regarding the Board of Education.

Parsippany Board of Education member Michael Strumolo, making strong allegations against Superintendent LeRoy Seitz, sent a request to Gov. Chris Christie Thursday asking him to hold a Town Hall meeting in the township to address a host of his complaints regarding the board.

The complaints start with Strumolo's charge that he experienced harassment, threats and intimidation at the hands of "an Ex-Officio member of the board who in the past has tried to exact retribution for my refusal to vote for his contract."

The board member is referring to Seitz, who is the only ex-officio member of the board, and who spent more than a year at odds with Strumolo and with Christie because of Seitz's contract negotiations.

The dispute was about money: Christie imposed a cap on superintendent salaries and publicly assailed Seitz and the Parsippany BOE in 2011 because the contract renegotiated in November 2010 did not comply with that cap.

The , calling him "the poster boy of greed."

After a year of back-and-forth and , the board produced a new contract that complied with the Christie cap and . Seitz filed suit against the board and the state for breach of contract; the BOE countersued for . The hearing is expected to begin in September.

Strumolo wrote to the governor that subsequent alleged retaliation against him by the "ex-officio member" has made his ability to fulfill his role as school board member "extremely difficult if not impossible at times."

The BOE member then related a number of questions that appear to allege potentially improper activities by unnamed school board colleagues. Among them:

  • Can multiple members of the board who have numerous family members working within the district vote on issues posed by an ex-officio member who has control either real or implied over his or her family members?
  • Can an ex officio member be held personally accountable if he wields his authority with malice and forethought to obtain retribution?
  • Can an ex-officio member of a board manipulate it with members who are possibly fearful of his retribution [toward] their family members?
  • Can a member of the board who willfully did not fill out the required background disclosure form accurately serve on the board?
  • Can members of the board, employed by other school systems, work with an ex-officio member who also works in that system? Or does this create an atmosphere of cronyism?
  • Can an ex-officio member who is out of touch with the reality of the taxpayers trying to survive in this economy continue to propose and expend funds by manipulating projects through threats and innuendos?

Patch asked Strumolo about what he hoped to accomplish by sending his requests and allegations to the governor, especially given the nearness of the start of the new school year.

"I believe people in Parsippany sent me there to be their voice, to ask the tough questions and to watch their tax dollars," he said. "The superintendent is continually interfering with my performance of my constitutional and statutory duties by threatening me with ethics charges, acting like an attorney and telling me I am violating the law when we have a board attorney who is very competent."

Strumolo said these alleged threats, about which he would not elaborate, have come "multiple times" when the board is in closed session.

His action comes after an Aug. 1 closed session of the board. Strumolo stormed out of the meeting and was not present when the board voted to spend up to $5,000 to hire attorney Gary Stein of the Pashman Stein firm in Hackensack to handle unspecified litigation.

In 2011, Stein, a former state Supreme Court associate justice, was hired by the Elizabeth Public Schools to probe alleged corruption in that district's school lunch program.

Board President Frank Calabria is away on vacation could not be reached for comment.

Seitz has been informed of Strumolo reaching out to the governor, but has declined to comment.

Christie's office said he is out of town and unavailable for comment.

VietNam Vet August 18, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Justine, what planet are you living on, this jerk is no better than that dumbo/osama you think is so great!!! Get real lady!
VietNam Vet August 18, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Monica, as always you haven't got a clue what you are talking about, stop sitting on your brains for a change. I have know Mr.Strumolo a number of years and he is trying to do the best he can for you taxpayers here, but by God I have no idea why because none of you deserve any of the time he puts in on this board, and all for nothing. Its very hard to do something when you have a bunch of idiots fighting you every step of the way, and then you have a town that doesn't appreciate a damn thing you tried to do, and believe me I know because I've been in the same kind of position, fighting for something and then the same people you are fighting for turns on you. This country used to be a great place to live, but not with the likes of you and idiots like odumbo/osama in it. You people can destroy a good fart. Get real and wake up lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
VietNam Vet August 18, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Thats how these morons get these little cushy jobs here, many of then don't do anything except just give you a dirty look or just sit and look out the window all day. Has anyone wondered why they have 5 or 6 people out on a road job when they only really need 2 or 3, and the others are standing around drinking coffee and watching, it because they are related to someone and they needed a job.
Scott Dean August 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Ooops I forgot that word Nepotism. I thought that was just a virus running through our town. Symtoms being: Causes an unfair playing field for those who work hard
Carol M. August 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Mr. Brown I understand that you like and admire Mr Strumolo and I surely wouldn't want to interfere with or get anywhere near that odoriferous world the two of you share but you are correct in your point that Mr Strumolo's efforts, no matter whose interests it is he is trying to serve, are not appreciated. Since you are a friend of his, why not convince him to take his efforts elsewhere? Surely as his friend, you'd like to see his efforts put to use somehow? Please think about it. From what I've seen there are a rare few of you that speak the language that Mr Strumolo seems to understand or, who share the same mindset as Mr Strumolo so I suspect he listens to what you have to say. If nothing else, I'm sure that your efforts would not go unappreciated.
steve revette August 18, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Very few? How many votes did Mr. Strumolo get in his election? He dominated that election so the taxpayers are behind him. See Mr. Strumolo wants to make sure he's 100 percent positive on anything because of what happened with the whole seitz contract. In fact I would like to know if Mancuso told every board member that Dr. Serafino put the ink on the contract before they voted for it. If not, I would definitely understand Mr. Strumolo's asking questions.
Nicole August 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Mr. Karasiewicz are you the same person who is related to one of the female board members? Mrs. Scalafani are you still on the BOE payroll? Carol M. are you Dr. Seitz in name drag? I don't agree with the way Mr. Strumolo is airing out the board's dirty laundry but I am feeling a lot of frustration. The people of Parsippany are sick and tired of having an over zealous superintendent who seeks retribution against anyone who questions any of his decisions. Enough is enough already. Each board member was elected by thousands. Dr. Seitz was selected by five. Is this one person really worth it?
Carol M. August 18, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Ms Nicole I've seen these silly diversion tactics in posts from many before but from the handful of your posts I've read you seem like an intelligent person; do you really need to resort to that? People can have different perspectives and opinions and just because you and I might not agree on something doesn't mean that your only option is to go to the name game. I think many people are frustrated about many different things and sometimes this is a good place to air those thoughts. Mrs Sclafani has chosen to use her full name which puts her at a disadvantage from people like you or I who choose not to. For all any of us know, you could be someone's daughter or niece? What I find amazing is that so many here on patch make a big deal about those of us who choose not to put our full names out there yet here are two people who have used their full names and you try to use some personal information about them to make some point? It's those types of posts that prompted me to not use my full name and I'd guess that may have played a role in your name choice as well.
Monica Sclafani August 18, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Well, Nicole, you have me at somewhat of a disadvantage here as you don't give your last name when posting. How are you related to Mr. Strumolo? Who do you work for? Hiawatha Towing? You do see how we can play this game ad nauseam... Not that it's any of your business or has any bearing on my comments, but yes, I do work for the school district. If you are implying that the Board "owns" me because I work for the district; you couldn't be further off the mark! As I stated earlier, Mr. Strumolo can get answers to his own questions by reading the By-laws of the Board or going to the NJ School Board Association website. That, though, would require that he do a little research on his own. Perhaps as an associate of Mr. Strumolo, you could help him out with this. (I'm sure the Governor is a little busy right now... you know... key note speaker at the convention). This article is an example of the games Mr. Strumolo likes to play in the media and at Board meetings. You and many others also keep quoting the "people of Parsippany". Just for the record, not all the "people of Parsippany" voted for Mr. Strumolo or respect him as a board member. Not all the "people of Parsippany" see Dr. Seitz as "an over zealous superintendent" or "greedy pig" or any of the other names he's been called. I look forward to the day when we no longer have to put up with Mr. Strumolo's grandstanding.
VietNam Vet August 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Nicole, this greedy jerk sietz is not worth the trouble it would take to kick him across the street, but I sure would love to kick him someplace else though. Monica has to play nice with sietz because she is in his back pocket and seems to be his watch dog on here so she can go back and tell what we said, so she is no better than that jerk. Monica is probably just as greedy as he is, if she is a teacher making that $ 70,000 a year they were talking about, then she is trying to protect her big paycheck then so she is no better than him. In either case they both need to go because the school system here would be much better off without them both.
VietNam Vet August 18, 2012 at 11:35 PM
No, Carol I will not talk to Mr.Strumolo because you do,t seem to like him, I now hope he stays on the BoE for many more years until we can rid this town of people like this greedy jerk here. I wouldn't give this pig the right time of day. Seitz needs to go and so does Neglia, Orme and Calabria and next year hopefully we get rid of Mancuso the other Rat, who caused this whole mess in the first place. Why do you think steitz went to Mancuso in the first place to renew hi contract about 8 months before hand? Its because he new he could get over on that moron and give him what he wanted and then steitz could screw the Governor at his own game, but he got screwed anyway, and now he is trying to sshut up anybody that oposes him. This jerk is as underhanded as they come, and the "Good" people of this town don't need to be taken to the cleaners anymore by the likes of this greedy jerk.
Roman Hoshowsky August 19, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Monica is not a teacher in the district making $70,000 a year. She is a substitute secretary who does not need the money. She is a misguided individual with a lot of free time on her hands and can not identify with those of us who struggle to make a living. If she would open her eyes, ears, and mind perhaps she would not be so narrow in her patterns of thought. I pray for her.
Angelina August 19, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I thought we stopped name calling in middle school? Lol. Im a republican and even i can admit that all of our leaders suck and only do what they want to do....country, state, town, school....Everyone really should just agree on that. Ull be much less angry when u accept that we appear to be doomed and nothing you say matters to those who make the rules.
Nicole August 19, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Monica Sclafani I do give you credit for signing your full name and my reasons for not posting my last name are probably similar to Carol M's. That being said, there are a lot of seniors on fixed incomes who are frustrated when we read about Dr. Seitz, his contract, and the dirty games he has played throughout his tenure as superintendent. In the 1970's when I volunteered to work in my child's elementary school, most of the people who lived in Parsippany were in a similar economic bracket. This is no longer the case. There are many seniors in town on fixed incomes and we cringe every time Dr. Seitz' name is mentioned. The way I read this article Mr. Stromolo is yes, using strong-armed tactics, but I see a board member who is frustrated. Yes. I know who Mr. Strumolo is. He may even know me by sight after living here for the past 60 plus years. Monica and Carol, I plead guilty as well as all the posters on this article should. We have all failed to comment on the actual questions Mr. Stromolo is asking the governor. These are serious questions which require immediate, serious answers.
Selene August 19, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Monica, you just gave it up hahahhahhaaa
VietNam Vet August 19, 2012 at 06:24 AM
Yes Nicole, I agree with you they are very serious questions, and when you don't get an answer from a dumb supt who is holding a grudge against one of the board members nothing is going to get done. This jerk is holding a grudge because Mr. Strumolo and Mr. Crawford voted against his big contract and the crooked way it was all done. If you can't get correct answers in one place, then you go above the jerks head. If the mayor was doing his job right, he would have asked the BoE to get rid of this greedy idiot.
VietNam Vet August 19, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Roman, she must have enough money that she doesn't feel for the rest of us here in town, who are struggling, because she has no compassion for others. She is only looking at one side and is defending the wrong people, Seitz, and Odumbo/Osama who will destroy this country if he is given the chance, this idiot seitz will destroy the school system here if he can get what he wants. This jerk needs to be run out of town and fast, before we all go bankrupt. His fields proposal is a joke, just like him. This town cannot afford $ 11.5 million for their mistakes. If they took care of things the way they were supposed to instead of catering to seitz and wendolowski none of this would've happened, now look where we are. Monica doesn't care how she spends our tax dollars, thankfully Mr. Strumolo is worring about these things and so am I an a few others, afterall we are taxpayers here too. At some point in time we have to put our foot down, and that time is NOW!!!!!
Carol M. August 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Mr Hoshowshy I've always thought you an unusual type but I never imagined I'd read a post like this by you.
steve revette August 19, 2012 at 01:02 PM
To be honest I give Mr. Strumolo credit. He realizes what kind of position not asking questions put us in and he's not going to let that happen again. Seitz is very sneaky. It's funny when he says we don't do things in this district until we have signatures. To this day has Dr. Serafino put her ink on the seitz contract? Pretty hypocritical if you ask me.
Monica Sclafani August 19, 2012 at 01:26 PM
@Selene - What did I give up? @Roman - Thank you for your prayers! I hope someone's got you covered! @Paul Brown - "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt @Nicole - I'll have to get back to you - I have some important things to do today with all my "free time"! ;)
Justine August 19, 2012 at 07:11 PM
...and the saga continues....to think that without Seitz our life would be simpler and much more productive. The reason is still here is because he cannot find another job. He is "working" without a contract... is this legal???
Justine August 19, 2012 at 07:11 PM
*he sorry for the typo...
Roman Hoshowsky August 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Carol, you are so far out of touch with the reality that is going on all around you that your opinions carry very little validity.
Carol M. August 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM
This is one of my favorite posts Mrs Sclafani; very well done.
Carol M. August 20, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Mr Hoshowsky I'm quite pleased to be out of touch with what you consider to be reality; thank you for the confirmation.
steve revette August 20, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I don't get why people think Seitz is so good. The school district since he's been here has gone down hill. They refuse to deal with issues and a lot of teachers and administrators in the schools are Terrible. I have NO sympathy for him what's so ever and I'm glad the governor intervened. Also he said out right that we wait until we have written proof before we go further on anything. Funny how it wasn't like that for his contract. To this day we still don't have a signature for that contract and I think that is hilarious. The sooner this guy goes the better. I praise Mr. Strumolo for doing everything he can to get answers to his questions.
Angelina August 20, 2012 at 04:02 PM
agreed the mayor and the board of ed are 2 totally different entities in the town and dont relate to each other. Time to blame someone else for a change...
Carol M. August 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Ms Nicole I can see how some just reading the bullet points in the article might think them serious unless; you've been at meetings when they were answered by the lawyers or, you’ve sat watching Strumolo hurl accusations left & right or, if you didn't know about policy like Mrs Sclafani mentions or, if you didn't realize there are places elected can go with concerns or, if you didn't consider the laws to protect employees, or if you thought a relative working in a school was unique to Parsippany alone or, if you didn't know that all the boe passed a criminal background check or, if you didn’t know that all the boe voted against the super’s contract along the way or, if you didn't think calling on the Governor for a town hall meeting to address someones laundry list of gripes sounded pretty ridiculous or, if you didn't have the thought I had when I saw the headline which was, here Strumolo goes again all over the media by his own accord to see his own name in print with some exaggerated content supposedly being the voice of the people rather then spending time doing what he was elected to do which is to educate our children! How many times are we going to see Strumolo in the headlines about everything but education? I've lost count and I'm tired of it. It would seem that there are 8 others on the boe working to focus on education yet Mr Strumolo thinks calling on the Governor to act as playground referee is what's important and deserves our attention? Really?
VietNam Vet August 21, 2012 at 05:02 PM
carol, you must be just like Monica, with to much time on your hands. Maybe you don't mind being racked over the HOT coals. Maybe you like being racked over the HOT coals everytime your idiot buddy opens his mouth about something, but the rest of us don't have your kind of money to just throw around. If you wnt to throw it away, throw some this way I'll be glad to take it just like steitz the greedy jerk. I have know idea whats in it for you, so why don't you tell us why you think so much of this greedy idiot? Tell us all just how smart you think you democraps really are, I think many of us would like to know. I think you are the only idiot here that likes to see her name in print. The only thing Mr.Strumolo is trying to do is save us some taxpayer money, I hope he can, but its unfortunate that you would save as well, to bad he couldn't save the rest of us money but charge you double since you have so much to throw around. Get a brain will you, and wake up to what this greedy jerk is trying to do again. Maybe you arn't smart enough to know that, but maybe if your nice, Mr Strumolo might tell you someday, I know I wouldn't.
steve revette August 21, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Carol it's not the point. Also your bringing up Mr. Strumolo as making accusations. Why did Choffo make accusations? My biggest concern is why we vote on things without written consent? I'm sorry but I have never heard of that happening anywhere except Parsippany. Also how is asking the governor to come to Parsippany ridiculous? To me ridiculous is some board members having information and some not having information. Ridiculous is voting on contracts without OFFICIAL approval. Ridiculous is to have lawyers at meetings who sit there and say NO COMMENT.Ridiculous is having somebody spend taxpayer money to sue the taxpayers. Also going to the governor is a place he could go. Maybe Mr. Strumolo didn't want get answers from the same person who told Mancuso he could do things unilaterally.

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