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NJ District Plans To Sue Superintendent For Over Alleged Salary Overpayments

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PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AP) — A northern New Jersey school district plans to sue its superintendent in a bid to recover almost $38,000 in alleged salary overpayments he received under a contract the state forced it to rescind.

The Daily Record of Parsippany reports the Parsippany-Troy Hills school district recently informed state officials of their intentions, saying they had no other legal alternative to recoup the funds.

“Asserting a legal claim in furtherance of your order is the only viable corrective action available,” interim district Business Administrator Mark Resnick said in a letter sent Monday, a day before a state-imposed deadline to resolve the matter.

State officials contend the district paid Lee Seitz more money than allowed under a state salary cap, saying district leaders signed a contract that had not received proper authorization from the state.

Executive Morris County Superintendent Kathleen Serafino had recommended the district deduct money from Seitz’s paycheck. But district officials have said that would be illegal, claiming that withholding pay would constitute a disorderly person’s offense.

Seitz was being paid a $220,565 salary, which is about $43,000 more than the $177,500 allowed by a state cap. The contract was signed in November 2010, a few months before the cap went into effect in February 2011.

The school board rescinded the contract last July, under the threat of losing $3.6 million in state aid. But it continued to pay Seitz at the same rate for months, saying his attorney argued that the salary remained in effect until a new deal in place.

The latest dispute is part of an ongoing, lengthy battle between the district and state officials over how much Seitz should be paid. It also has drawn the attention of Gov. Chris Christie, who has labeled the superintendent as a “poster boy” for greed.

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