Christie and Seitz

Have you caught the governor’s rant against Lee Seitz, the superintendent of schools in Parsippany?  It is Chris Christie at his best _ or worst _ depending on your view.

Mine is that Seitz, who just got a new contract that far exceeds a state spending cap set to take effect in February, is not the true guilty party here. That label belongs to the school board for approving the contract.  Some of those individuals, fortunately, will be up for election in April.

As for Seitz, I asked him to visit us and do his own video in response to the governor’s comments. He declined. That was a lousy public relations move if you ask me.


About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

11 Responses to Christie and Seitz

  1. chubbypaul says:

    It seems as though you have run into this problem often. There seem to be many people that are refusing to speak with you. It might be time to start asking yourself why this is. Think about it.

  2. Mark in Rockaway says:

    “As for Seitz, I asked him to visit us and do his own video in response to the governor’s comments. He declined. That was a lousy public relations move if you ask me.”

    I agree, that was a lousy public relations move for you to ask Seitz to visit and make a response video.

  3. OK Mark, explain why it is a “lousy move” to offer a man a chance to give his side of the story?

  4. Ken Bank says:

    There may be some justification for renewing the contract based on past performance and the desirability of maintaining a stable educational environment for students, parents and teachers. It would be pennywise and pound foolish to throw aside someone who has done a good job and maintains a good working relationship with teachers, parents and administrators.

    Let’s not forget the old adage, with much truth in it, that you get what you pay for.

  5. P says:

    It’s somewhat ironic that one of the few public sector positions that doesn’t have lifetime tenure, a bargaining unit based salary, or civil service protections; and actually is negotiated based on the free market principles of supply and demand, is the one the governor chose to go after.

    As for why Christie is doing it, I wouldn’t call it a Red Herring, but rather, part of his ongoing effort to arrest the increase in the cost of public education by shining a BRIGHT LIGHT on all the cost drivers – mainly salaries and benefits.

    I also believe that this will not be good for public education as it will drive a lot of good people out of the system. Any organization needs good, strong leaders. And the difference in cost between a teacher with comparable experience and the local superintendent is only 2 – 3x. Compare that to the private sector where it’s more like 10 – 20x.

    It’s easy for everyone to call someone “greedy” just because they make more than we do, but it doesn’t make it right, or the smart thing to do.

  6. Ed France says:

    The school board is guilty for spending too much of the taxpayers money. What else is there to say?

  7. Dan Grant says:

    When they eliminated tenure the unentended result was that it created a “Free Agency” for Supers and Board of Eds which are really political bodies fell into the trap of bidding against each other for those percieved to be “The Best”. Supers knowing the no longer had any security opted to shop around and move frequently because every move was a pay increase. It is what happens when the “Will of the People” causes polititians to pretend they are educators.

  8. A Cute Observer says:

    It’s not going to “drive good people out of the system”. This system is providing them with more income than they can find anyplace else.

    Let someone like Seitz go and try to replace his salary and benefits in the private sector and he’ll come crawling back.

  9. P says:

    How does one determine what is “too much?” If the market for really good superintendents is over $200K, and that’s what you want, do you, if you are on a BOE, settle for a mediocre person just because you capped your spend at $175K?

    Dan is right, the state took away tenure because they didn’t want districts to be stuck with bad superintendents. So now bad supers got one job, and in three to five years they are usually gone. But this leads to many more openings per year because the average tenure of a super is 1/2 – 1/3 what it used to be. This means that really good people can always find a better job with better pay. And this does increase the average cost for all districts.

    Finally, no one has explained why the top pay should be tied to the governor’s pay. His job is tougher, but in reality, he’s underpaid too. The difference is that it’s an elected position, and people look to win those jobs for a whole different set of reasons and are willing to settle for less than they are worth because of it.

    If these rules changes are enacted, in about three years time we will look back and realize that although we may have saved a few $$, the mess that ensued wasn’t worth it.

    Scale of Savings-
    * Size of total savings if all the superintendents’ pay in NJ was cut to cap level or below – $10M annually.
    * Wharton School District (one of Morris County’s smallest w/725 kids) – total operating budget for 10/11 – $11M
    * Total state spend on public education – ~$20B
    * Total % “saved” – .05% (five hundredths of one percent)

  10. Mike says:

    When I met with Dr.Seitz on a very serious matter he told me that he”is not smart enough to do two things at once” Enough said.

  11. Wayne says:

    Nobody asked you.

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