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"When are we going to acknowledge as mature, reasonable adults that we have too long tolerated a municipal framework that represents the opposite of everything this century has learned about effective management, efficient control and economy of scale."

Alan J. Karcher,
Multiple Municipal Madness

Targeting Parsippany superintendent misses the point

The latest target on Gov. Chris Christie’s screen is LeRoy Seitz, the superintendent of the Parsippany-Troy Hills School District, slated to receive $50,000 above the state-mandated $175,000 salary cap. Now the governor is threatening to block approval of the district budget until the school board puts the superintendent’s salary in line.

But compared to what’s going on in western Morris County — in Christie’s back yard — Seitz’s inflated salary is a great bargain.

Maybe the governor should direct his frustration a bit closer to home.

Seitz serves a school district that covers the municipality of Parsippany-Troy Hills, which contains 53,000 residents and educates 7,000 pupils. The district includes two high schools and a dozen middle or elementary schools.

Compare those statistics with Mendham, where Christie resides. It’s actually two municipalities — Mendham Township and Mendham Borough — but good luck trying to tell them apart, even though each has its own school district. In the township, where Christie lives, the schools superintendent earns more than $150,000, despite the fact that the school district only comprises about 900 students. In the borough, the superintendent makes nearly $200,000, with only 700 students. That’s nearly $300 per student.

You’d be surprised to know those numbers don’t even factor in a high school. Years ago, the Mendhams joined with three other municipalities — Chester Borough, Chester Township and Washington Township — to create the West Morris Regional High School District, which has its own set of administrators. There, the district superintendent makes $192,000, while overseeing 2,200 students.

What does this all mean? I can’t talk about the merits of Seitz as a school leader, but it would seem the taxpayers of Parsippany are getting a pretty good deal.

Continue reading this article in The Daily Record, or download a full PDF here

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