Thursday, March 10, 2016


Dr. Leroy Seitz
The South Orange Maplewood School District has contracted with the acting superintendent of Parsippany-Troy Hills to investigate Columbia High School baseball coach Joe Fischetti following claims of alleged harassment and bullying that date back more than a year.

Dr. Leroy Seitz, who was hired last month to investigate Fischetti, is the acting chief of the P-TH Schools, where he gained statewide attention several years ago for challenging the state superintendent salary cap. 

That legal battle ended with his departure in 2013. Gov. Chris Christie once called him the "poster boy" for education-related greed. Seitz was re-appointed as interim schools superintendent there last fall with a contract that runs at least through June 2016.

The Fischetti investigation, first announced at the Feb. 22 school board meeting, follows the board's 6-3 vote to reappoint Fischetti to the baseball coaching post for 20l6. 

He was reappointed despite a string of complaints from Randy Nathan, the parent of a former student, which the district determined to be valid, as well as a lawsuit filed by another former student claiming numerous alleged acts of harassment and bullying.

Superintendent John Ramos said on Feb. 22 that an investigator would be brought in and Fischetti's re-appointment could be reversed if the investigator finds that harassment occurred.

At the March 7 board meeting, Ramos told that an investigator had not been hired.

But a public records request to the district revealed that Seitz, currently acting superintendent of the P-TH School District, had been hired on Feb. 26 to conduct the investigation at a rate of $125 per hour, not to exceed $5,000.

See that contract HERE.

It is unclear why Seitz, who is working full time for another district, was chosen. He had previously served as Parsippany-Troy Hills' superintendent from 2006 to 2013, but left following a salary dispute stemming from the statewide superintendent salary cap instituted in 2011. reported last fall that:

Seitz had agreed in 2009 to a pay raise that would have paid him a base salary of $212,000. Christie criticized the contract, the Parsippany Board of Education and Seitz, threatening to withhold state aid unless the salary was capped to the state’s new maximum number. 

The Board relented and reduced Seitz’ salary, which subsequently led to a legal battle. In 2013, Seitz’ petition to recoup money was dismissed by the Office of Administrative Law, who ruled in favor of the Board. Seitz stepped down on May 15, 2013.

In 2009, as Seitz's salary drew interest, Gov. Chris Christie, who implemented the salary cap, called Seitz the "new poster boy for all that's wrong with the public school system that is being dictated by greed."

Seitz could not immediately be reached for comment today, while Ramos has also been unavailable. Nathan told he and DeFranco had yet to be contacted by Seitz.