Barberio against Seitz contract

A few people asked on our blogs what Parsippany Mayor James Barberio thought of the new contract for superintendent Lee Seitz.

I asked Barberio that today; He said he was against it.

“I’m not giving raises to any of my people,” he said.


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.

54 Responses to Barberio against Seitz contract

  1. P says:

    Did you also ask him if he’s planning to cut their pay 20 – 25%?

  2. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, try to focus. “Pay cuts” for superintendents is an issue because their current salary levels are way out of line.

    Are you suggesting that the pay scale for municipal staffers in Parsippany are equally out of line?

  3. P says:

    I’ve seen the municipal salaries and OT payments in my town, and I suspect Parsippany is about the same, and on a relative scale, I’d say they are more overpaid than a good superintendent.

    How does anyone decide what a fair wage is? In the case of a superintendent, it’s set by the marketplace.

  4. Ed Ramirez says:

    the super salaries are set by go along school boards which in most cases have ulterior motives and many conflicts of interest.

  5. Ted Doty says:

    That’s a nice theory Pbrain but can you support it with facts? Can you provide an example?

    Christie’s superintendent salary cap is based on the idea that the governor has more responsibility than a school superintendent yet many supers are paid in excess of $200K while the governor is by law capped at $175K Come on Pbrain, give us something that lends credibility to your argument.

  6. P says:

    A governor’s salary has no basis in reality. Any Fortune 500 CEO would be making 10 – 100x what our governor makes, and they have comparable levels of responsibility. So tying everyone else’s salaries to an elected official, although it may make them feel great, isn’t a good benchmark.

    e.g., the US owns GM. Does the CEO of GM make less than the President –


    In general, although the governor’s bracketing of salaries based on size of district appears to make sense, it isn’t automatic that running an J district like the Chathams is as difficult as an Abbott with the same number of students, but many more other, more difficult challenges.

    It also isn’t the case that a district like the Chathams thrives because of the “brilliance” of its superintendent or their “high quality” teachers. The fact of the matter is that the parents in the wealthier districts are the biggest influence in their kids success.

    So the whole idea that you shove people into cookie cutter salary guides at the executive level makes no sense in the public or private sectors.

    Finally, during the recession, a lot of us saw no pay increases, or no pay increase plus furloughs, but it is a rare person who kept their job and saw a permanent reduction in pay of 10 – 25%.

    P.S. The governor isn’t “capped” at $175K, that just what the political class has decided is a number the public can live with for now. They can always raise it to an amount that’s more commensurate with the job responsibilities.

    P.P.S. Most of the really egregious pay deals were addressed through legislation after this report came out –

    P.P.P.S. As you’ve also noted, there are assistant superintendents and school principals who will be making more than their respective supers if these regs are enacted. So you will need to put together a comprehensive list of positions and salaries, from supervisor all the way up to super, to have this make any sense, and good luck with that. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you have no one moving into administrative posts because you can do better as a teacher with less headaches and shorter hours.

    P.P.P.P.S. I still think this is a sideshow and the real matter that needs to be addressed, if we ever want real property tax relief, is the state school aid funding formula. Morris county probably submits over $1B in state income tax every year, but gets back about $100M. And when Obama sent NJ an extra $260M, Morris county got $5M!

    The 2% cap will hold the line on outrageous property tax increases as long as it’s in place, but we need to see more of our money flow back to Morris county.

  7. Ted Doty says:

    As Christie said in Parsippany last Friday, government is not private industry

    And according to the governors web site, he is indeed capped at $175,000.. Also I believe it says his current salary is $157,000.

    Pbrain, a 4 day workweek is not uncommon these days and that’s a 20% cut in pay. And have you tried to get 40 hours for any job at the mall recently? You’d be lucky to get 30…and thats a 25% cut….Not to mention the pay rates are less than they were 2 years ago…much less than 10 years ago.

    Pbrain, what world do you live in?

  8. P says:

    Christie compares the public sector to the private sector all the time, especially on things like paying for results. A superintendent is the only job in the public sector that is easily comparable to the private sector. No union, no tenure, contracts of 3 – 5 years. And as I’ve noted above, Government Motors didn’t bother to try to tie their chief executive, nor any of their executives for that matter, to the President’s pay – Why?

    As for your specious argument about cutting hours being equal to a pay cut, it is, but only if you’re planning to cut the super’s hours. If not, give me an example of someone who’s seen their workload stay the same or increase, but suffered a serious pay cut.

    And although you hate your super, comparing the position to a “mall job,” is a joke, but does offer some insight as to where you spend all your time.

  9. Ted Doty says:

    Without question Christie DOES NOT compare superintendent compensation to the private sector. Rob Jennings video taped his comment.

    The comment also covers your Corporate CEO vs.US President Salariy

  10. P says:

    Not according to this story, with direct quotes –

    You might want to do some research before you make such bold proclamations.

    And you’ve continued to dodge the question about the Government Motors’ CEO compensation package.

  11. Ted Doty says:

    Like I said, check the video

  12. P says:

    I provided you a link to a story where he specifically stated, “While families and school districts across the state cope with fewer resources and continued fiscal challenges, many school administrators continue to receive salaries that are out of proportion with the private sector and current economic realities.” The fact that he may have contradicted himself (your precious video tape) doesn’t change what he said, or what I said he said.

    And in this case, I think he’s wrong about the value of a school district superintendent. A President of a company with revenues of $125M would easily have a comp package equal to, or better than, most high end NJ superintendents, including Seitz. You can’t talk about comparisons with Private Industry when it suits your purpose, and then claim that there’s no reason to compare, just because it doesn’t suit your current argument.

    And I continue to wait for someone to give me a really good reason why anyone’s salary should be tied to the Governor’s. And if it’s such a great idea, why you aren’t screaming at Obama for paying the CEO of GM more than the President makes.

  13. Ted Doty says:

    We’re not talking about all compensation being tied to the governor. We’re talking about school superintendents.


  14. P says:

    And why should they be tied to an elected politician’s salary? As I noted, the head of GM isn’t tied to Obama’s pay, even though the US Gov’t owns and controls that company – WHY?

  15. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, superintendent’s are public officials as is the governor. You seem to split hairs between those who are elected and those hired by elected representatives. That’s silly.

    Why shouldn’t school superintendents salaries be tied to a governor? Or alternatively why should private sector chiefs be compared to superintendents?

  16. P says:

    By your logic, any one directly, or indirectly, hired by a public entity should make less than the head of that public body. So, do all of the workers in RT make less than the mayor? Do all of the employees of the RT BOE make less than the President of the BOE? Of course not. For starters, the President of your BOE gets paid NOTHING.

    In the state of NJ, the governor isn’t even the highest paid public employee. That honor goes to the coach at Rutgers (~$2M). And even the President of the University clocks in at around $600K.

    The only thing silly here is your specious argument that anyone’s salary should be tied to Christie’s, other than his staff and the Legislature’s.

    As for private sector CEOs running companies with comparable budgets as NJ superintendents, we few exceptions, I doubt a one makes as little, even when you factor in the long and short term benefits. And certainly not someone running a company with a budget of $125M as Seitz’s does.

    Conversely, can you name one CEO who’s running a $30B corporation that’s only earning $175K per year (or $200K total comp)?

  17. Ted Doty says:

    No Pbrain. What I said was that it’s silly to distinguish an elected officials salary from the salary of a Superintendent who is directly hired by elected officials. Both salaries a set by governing bodies who should follow the same set of rules.

  18. Ted Doty says:

    What I said was that it’s silly to distinguish an elected officials salary from the salary of a Superintendent who is directly hired by elected officials. Both salaries a set by governing bodies who should follow the same set of rules.

  19. P says:

    As usual, your responses make no sense, in this case, in duplicate.

    All public employees at the local level are hired by elected officials. Teachers, firemen, crossing guards, etc. all have to be approved by the governing body, yet all make more than their elected masters.

    P.S. I don’t see the names of any private sector chieftains who’s running a company as big as NJ, but making as little as the Governor. That might bolster your case.

  20. Ted Doty says:

    Private Sector Chiefs are compensated by owners of the entity. Those owners may pay what they want. The owners of government don’t generally want to pay on that same scale. Pbrain, compensation levels are not simply based on what the “other guy” makes. What the boss wants to pay is the limiting factor.

    Local level employees do not serve at the pleasure of elected politicians and their pay scales are usually governed by contract, civil service grade, etc..

    Pbrain, you argue silly nonsensical points

  21. P says:

    Since a local school board is the “entity,” (whatever that really means), and local taxpayers (aka the “owners”) have a greater voice in their board of directors than the average stockholder has, why shouldn’t a BOE set the pay scale?

    Even contracted employees are paid based on what other people make, both public and private, because if a municipality or school district won’t pay enough for a job, they won’t find any takers.

    The only thing that is nonsensical is trying to put a cap on what you pay someone, especially someone who has to negotiate, with benefit of a bargaining unit or other support, and expecting that you will still find the best people for the job. If all you want is mediocrity, by all means, cap away.

  22. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, Pbrain, Pbrain It’s already been established that the public should decide through it’s elected representatives, the school board. Now when was the last time you heqrd of a BOE representing the will of their constituents? I’m guessing never.

    The state legislature at least does so on occasion.

    Throughout US history, there have been many fine leaders who opted for public service over higher paying private sector jobs.

  23. P says:

    Too bad your worldview is colored so heavily by you hatred for your local officials. In most places, local officials reflect the community’s will, otherwise they get replaced.

    And to compare local officials’ willingness to conform to what their constituents want to that of the NJ State Legislature is a tremendous joke. They, and governors for the past four decades, are the ones who have put NJ in a GIANT HOLE. I doubt the current state of affairs is “the will of the people.”

    Stop trying so hard to support a dumb position.

    As I’ve noted before, when compared to their private sector equivalents, Superintendents are underpaid. Can you say the same for all the teachers, police and other union-backed public “servants?”

  24. Ted Doty says:

    For some reason you you equate the management skills of school superintendents and private sector managers based on organizational revenues. That’s a mistake.

    The private sector increases revenue via improvements to the productivity & efficiency of their organizations as well as the four “Ps”, (Product, Price, Place and Promotion). School superintendents mainly focus on Promotion for the survival of their bureaucracy; if you can sell the budget, you survive.

    Clearly the skills are different and that’s why you often hear superintendents say they’d earn more in the private sector but never make the switch. They’re just not worth the salaries they think they’d command and would suffer a loss of power if they accepted private sector jobs commensurate with their talents.

  25. P says:

    People do what they do for a variety of reasons and each accepts the limitations (salary, career advancement, location, hours, etc.) that comes with their chosen profession. Your reason might be one of a hundred that people take into account, but I doubt it’s the main reason for even a small minority.

    Regardless, even an operations manager of department (with no Revenue responsibilities) in the private sector that has as much responsibility as the super in Parsippany ($125M, staff, facilities, SME, community relations, etc.) would easily command a comp package greater than Seitz. So there already is a built in public service discount.

    I will also note that your original position was that the governor wasn’t comparing public and private sector comp packages, but gave up on that and are now trying to prove that the salaries are comparable, but skills, knowledge, abilities and responsibilities aren’t. I think it’s time to stop throwing stuff at the wall and hoping that something sticks.

    The only thing consistent about your arguments is that they are consistently WRONG.

  26. Ted Doty says:

    My point is that public and private sector jobs a not comparable and I’ve clearly explained the difference.

  27. P says:

    Still waiting for your justification for capping a super’s salary at a set of arbitrary rates depending upon number of students in a school district, or why they are “way out of line.” How would you determine what their job responsibilities are worth?

  28. Ted Doty says:

    This would be much simpler if Pbrain could read and retain. He just argues in circles.

    Pbrain re read my posts for justification for disassociating public and private sector levels. As to the valuation superintendent salaries, I think the governor’s pay scale is better than the CEO of GM. I thought I made that clear.

  29. P says:

    I know you number, I’d like to hear why that number makes and sense . . . . oops, asking Ted to make sense, My Bad. Never mind.

  30. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain. We’ve established that the governor and superintendents feed fro the same trough and are responsible to the same authority . It follows that their pay rate should be in line…and we’ve done that a couple of times

    Now you want to re ask the same questions for a third time to continue your circular argument.

    Give it up Pbrain you lost another argument. Get used to the fact that you’re not Socrates…not by a long shot

  31. P says:

    You still haven’t explained how/why the governor’s salary is at $175K other than it’s a number the legislature picked out of a hat. To then claim that all other salaries should be based on that is a mistake on top of a mistake.

    The fact is that you really can’t justify your position except with throwaway lines like, “the governor and superintendents feed fro the same trough and are responsible to the same authority.”

    Get back to us when you come up with a serious analysis because, yes, I’ll ask the question for a fourth (or fifth, or however many it takes till Teddy gets it right) time – “How do you determine the pay range for a school district superintendent?”

    P.S. The question is actually rhetorical because Ted will never admit that 1.) he has no idea (which is stunning given the fact that he claims he has an MBA and has worked in the finance dept of several companies); AND 2.) if he ever could come up with a number based on a comparable analysis, he’d probably have to give half the supers in the state a raise.

  32. Ted Doty says:

    So now you want me to justify why the legislature chose the governor’s salary limits? Well all I can say is, legislators are supposed to act in the best interest of those they serve.

    I’ve explained the the reason why public and private executive tasks and salaries are not comparable. Further, I’ve explained why the basis for gubernatorial and school superintendent salaries are similar/. yet you want it all re explained.

    Perhaps you might try a justification for your theory that salaries should be based total revenues and not tasks or judgement of owners.

  33. P says:

    I think the free market should prevail. If a BOE thinks a person is worth X, and they have the funds to pay the salary, why is there a limit?? You yourself just said that salaries should be based on, “tasks or judgment of owners.” In the case of a school district, the BOE is the management serving as the proxy for the “owners,” i.e., local taxpayers.

    And if you’re going to base the whole salary structure for public employees on what the governor makes, then you have to justify that number . . which, BTW, you haven’t.

  34. Ted Doty says:

    You mistake current superintendent salary levels as being developed in the free market. The school administrators union sets the going rate. Local boards are held hostage.

    I did not base the entire public employee pay scale on the governors salary, you did. I’m merely saying School chiefs should not earn more than the governor. You have a terrible habit of remolding to words. Try to stay focused Pbrain.

  35. P says:

    Ah, the Delusions grow Grander. Now, according to Ted, Superintendents have a Union. Really? Could you tell us its name? Do they come out with the inflatable rat when the super isn’t happy with his contract? DotyLand just moved further out into Space.

    As for, “I did not base the entire public employee pay scale on the governors salary, you did. I’m merely saying School chiefs should not earn more than the governor,” once you start equating the top person’s pay to a benchmark, i.e., the governor’s salary (or less), you’ve tied everyone else to it as well. The next step will be assistant superintendents and business administrators, then principals and VPs, . . .

    You will also have a very narrow band for all those positions in between teacher and super given that a seasoned teacher can now make well north of $100K. It will get very interesting, and by interesting, I mean a MESS.

  36. Ted Doty says:

    Yes there is a school administrators association bargaining unit.

    You’re starting to see the point now Pbrain. The superintendent’s salary sets the bar for all other administrators. The teachers are a different bargaining unit and there are efforts to change that pay scale as well. I guess you don’t keep up with current events .

  37. P says:

    Ted, Ted, Ted, Superintendents DO NOT belong to a Union. They negotiate on their own behalf as individuals. Same for Asst. Supers and BAs.

    School Administrators – i.e., building principals, special ed directors, etc., usually have an association, but it has no real power. If they convinced you otherwise in RT, shame on you. The only union with any real clout is the Teachers’.

    As usual, your ignorance is STUNNING.

    P.S. Unless they change state law, any one with Tenure cannot have their salary lowered. Supers, and untenured certificated staff, are the only people who fall into that category, so they cannot do to the tenured administrators and teachers what they are trying to do to supers (who, BTW, can never get tenure).

  38. Ted Doty says:

    There you go again. They do negotiate individually however they do in fact all belong to a union. This stuff is basic, you have to keep up

    School level administrators do have power, I’m not sure where you’re getting your information. For example, during last year’s budget crisis t hey acted as a single unit to an refused to freeze their salaries

    I)n terms of tenure, you’re correct on current law but if you kept up with current events, you’d now teacher tenure is “on the table”

    Pbrain, you gotta get out more…or at least read a newspaper

  39. P says:

    And what Union do Superintendents belong to?

    As I noted above, School Principals, VPs and other middle level management usually belongs to an Administrators’ Association (aka Union). Once they have a contract, they’re reluctant to give up a negotiated raise, but in terms of their bargaining power, it’s pretty meager. They can’t strike, and no one is going to come to their defense if a BOE plays hardball.

    P.S. I “now” a lot of things, including, how to spell KNOW.

    P.P.S. Thanks for the “insight” on Tenure. I never would have guessed that it was being discussed. Good thing we all have you around to keep us “informed.”

  40. Ted Doty says:

    You just gotta keep up Pbrain. You must be the only person in NJ who believes superintendent contracts are negotiated independently…Or is it that you believe that since there is no collective bargaining, there is no union?

    Pbrain,you are both naive and ill informed

  41. P says:

    I haven’t been able to figure out if you are completely crazy, or the world’s biggest liar. Either way, Superintendents do not have a union, they negotiate on their own, and yes, Collective Bargaining = Union (and conversely, no collective bargaining = no union). It really is that simple. Not sure why you didn’t get the memo, or how you sat on a BOE for three years and never figured that out.

  42. Ted Doty says:

    So you really believe contracts are independently negotiated?

  43. P says:

    I know that there’s no union involved, and the only third party would be an attorney or other representative that the super or super candidate hired. Can you provide PROOF of some other model, and the name of the union that you claim supers belong to?

  44. P says:

    As of this morning the headline is fixed, so I guess Teddy stands alone, again –

    “Administrators rep: Christie couldn’t hack it as schools superintendent”

  45. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, do yourself a favor and review the contracts of a few school superintendents. The differences are due to district size and experience. Other than that they’re pretty standard.

    Pbrain, you’re so naive..

  46. P says:

    More useless (yet incorrect) information. Actually, contracts are mainly influenced by the person’s experience, and the needs of the hiring school district. There isn’t a direct correlation between school district size and many of the supers’ compensation. The balance of the “standardization” comes from two things – the state has cracked down on almost all non-salary comp items so contracts are getting fairly simply; districts and superintendents all use a handful of law firms to assist with the contract construction, so over time, they all start to use the same language.

    P.S. Still waiting to get the name of the Union that the Superintendents belong to . . . or an admission that you continue to pull things from your backside (with the caveat that “it’s how things REALLY are . . “). Not holding my breath.

  47. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, You have to review a few contracts. They’re available online from both local district sites and Data Universe. they were similar before perks were trimmed and still are. The current Morris County average hovers around $200,000…and searching districts do not find candidates willing yo sign on for much less than that average…It’s a union Pbrain.

    The reason why perks were trimmed was because the “union” got them put into most contracts…without transparency….Did you just move to NJ?…And how can you speak with such authority on subjects about which you know nothing?

    I’ll bet you even believe that medical Drs aren’t unionized…LOL

  48. P says:

    I see, it’s a “UNION” because Ted says “It’s a UNION.” I guess if you decided that east is west and west is east, tomorrow morning the Sun would be coming up in the West.

    You might want to Google “the difference between a Union and a Professional Association.” By your standard, almost everyone in America belongs to a “Union.”

    As for the “average” salary of a Morris Cty super, I think there are less than ten who make over $200K, so I’m more than suspicious about that claim. Could you offer some real proof.

    P.S. Lived in NJ my whole life, and you’ve yet to impress me with your knowledge of anything school board related. This thread is a case in point.

  49. Ted Doty says:

    Here too, what’s the point of you “there is no union” argument?

  50. P says:

    That, like almost everything you post, it’s BOGUS information.

    Not sure why you keep putting up a bunch of Lies and try to get people to believe you just because you had a cup of coffee on a BOE ages ago.

  51. Ted Doty says:

    I’ll ask again. what’s your point?

  52. P says:

    Unfortunately, Ted and the English language are complete strangers. I’ve been clear, but Ted either can’t or won’t understand. I’ve made my point. Merry Christmas.

  53. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, clearly explained blather is still blather.

  54. P says:

    and Happy New Year.

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