Tag Archive: Parsippany

A Tale of Two Superintendents

Something is rotten in Trenton. And it has to do with the politicization of the selection of school superintendents.

If you remember, almost three years ago, Chris Christie imposed a cap on the salary of school district superintendents. He unilaterally decreed that (with a few exceptions for size of district and performance) no superintendent should earn more than the $175,000 annual salary that is received by the governor. At a taxpayer-funded political rally in Washington Township in November, 2010, Christie gloated as he told the audience that Parsippany superintendent Lee Seitz would have to take a pay cut from a then-recently negotiated salary of $216,000. As a result, Seitz decided to leave, and take a job out of state. One wonders how much the Parsippany district had to spend in its search for a replacement.

By contrast, Christie’s hand-picked superintendent for the Camden school district, Paymon Rouhanifard, starts off at a salary above the cap, almost as what Seitz negotiated, $210,000.

Here’s a comparison of Seitz and Rouhanifard







Relevant Experience

School Principal – 7 years

Asst. Superintendent – 1.5 years

Superintendent – 18 years

President – Hunterdon County Association of School Administrators – 4 years

Teacher – 2 years


Superintendent of Schools – NJ and PA

Secondary Principal – NJ and PA

Two year provisional granted immediately.


Child Assault Prevention Administrator of the Year

Star School – NJ DoE

National Blue Ribbon School – US DoE



Doctor of Eduation – Penn

Master of Education – Lehigh

Economics and Political Science – UNC – Chapel Hill 

Field as specified on LinkedIn Profile

Education Management

Investment Management

Below the fold: Video of Christie gloating at Seitz’s salary cut. Move the video slider to the 2:10 mark.

Christie Anti-Veteran Campaign Gains Another Supporter

promoted by Rosi

It looks like Chris Christie’s campaign to allow towns to say no to veterans looking for decent homes has gained another adherent.

As reported in another Blue Jersey post by Tom Wyka, a councilman in Parsippany, John Cesaro, voted against allowing a two-family home for formerly homeless veterans because he claimed it would be “social engineering.”

We at Fair Share Housing are not exactly sure what part of letting veterans live in a two-family home qualifies as “social engineering.” It seems a bit more accurate to say that trying to stop veterans from living in your town is “social engineering.”

Fortunately, Cesaro was outvoted by members of his own party to allow veterans to live in Parsippany, showing that there are people of both parties that believe that people who served our country deserve a place in our communities.

But perhaps Cesaro was just following the leader. Just two weeks ago, Gov. Christie stopped homes for disabled veterans from being built in Salem County.

We at Fair Share Housing Center are not sure what the moral or political calculation is that makes politicians like Christie and Cesaro think that keeping veterans out of communities is acceptable. It’s wrong – and frankly offensive. And it’s good to see that people like Tom Wyka and Cesaro’s council mates are not going along with it.

It seemed like a valid challenge

Promoted by Rosi

It’s December – correct?   Peace and goodwill is supposed to reign the day.  Apparently not so in politics.  Last week at an agenda meeting, I had to call out a councilman (John Cesaro) for his ideological grandstanding against COAH as “Social Engineering at its finest” in the midst of a discussion about granting a veterans organization trust fund money to establish a group home for vets.   His response?  …I’m merely being political – and it’s obvious I’m kicking off my 2013 run.

It’s kind of a disturbing scenario to observe elected officials developing a complex whereby they feel entitled to a level of status beyond reproach.  Every critic is merely a “political” enemy.

Shortly after his retort it dawned on me how to draw clear definitions between the need to criticize in the face of being accused of political opportunism,  the entire meaning of running for office, the role of political civility in light of incumbent “status” and reputation, and bundling it all up in the context of a Christmas wish.  This was my response last Tuesday.  Hope it hits the mark…

George Will once said “Some people run for office to be somebody – while others run for office to do something.”

I’ve always considered myself one of the latter despite what some people think.   And given that Mr. Cesaro has offhandedly drafted me for the Council Race in 2013,  I want to be clear on exactly why I run for office.  So I’m going to propose an interesting challenge to prove that.

So here’s the deal – I will not run for municipal office in 2013 provided the following…

Welcome to pro-Equality NJ, Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney’s in New Jersey, at the Parsippany Hilton, getting his picture snapped with the big dogs (maxed at $2,500/primary), shaking hands with the GOP hoi polloi forking over their $500 bucks, and sharing a stage in Jersey with his #1 BFF and a stronger player in his campaign even than he is, Chris Christie.

Mitt: You should know New Jersey’s a pro-equality state. Voters here – yeah, Mitt, even a lot of Republicans – want the rights of gay people’s unions to be respected by our laws. That’s where we are, even if some of our legislators aren’t there with us yet.

Bob Garon, Mitt Romney I tell you this, Mittster, because this morning you had an encounter in a diner in Manchester, New Hampshire, with an older guy in a flannel shirt and Vietnam Veteran ballcap. And Mitt, you didn’t come off too well there, buddy.

Boston Globe tells it. The flannel fella was Bob Garon. He asked you if you want to repeal New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage law. Here’s how that went (you’re in bold):

You said yes:  “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s my view.”

Concession of Hope

promoted by Rosi

Running for Congress 2006 and 2008 was a learning experience of a kind that few people get who might think they understand the process.  Losing by the same percentage each time was also “enlightening” (I’ll avoid the word disappointing for now) – but the favorite analogy I created for this is it’s like hiking a high mountain where the top is obscured in clouds, but the farther you go and harder you work – you get to see a little further up the path, and you’re quite a bit wiser that anyone else that’s never dared to take the walk.  

The votes my running mates and I achieved yesterday are a mile marker up the path.  And we’re standing in the road having taken a long journey and wondering why we still came up short.  What I’ve come to understand through experience is – I don’t lament that realization very long.  I’ve come to enjoy the walk … the process.   We canvassed so much in this race and it was the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.  How can you deny it if this is really in your blood – meeting voters face-to-face.  My running mates will tell you – that if there was ever an option of what we had to do on any given night – go to a community event – go to a fundraiser – even dialing for dollars (perish the thought) – more often than not – I’d say “let’s walk”  – Let’s cover some more ground – let’s meet some more people that never knew us before.

QoTD: Christie Bum’s Rush Edition

Today’s Quote of the Day comes via Senator Loretta Weinberg, and it took a day or so to sink in, how cheeky it is. We’re glad we’ve got a senator way up in the 37th District who rides it right up to the Governor’s door. As her first year with us closes, we’re also glad she’s part of the Blue Jersey community, too. Here’s LW, as quoted by The Record’s Charles Stile, after Gov. Christie disparaged her work to reform pay-to-play rules, an effort she invited him to collaborate in, but he never returned her calls or any of her efforts to include him. Stile’s last line is her quote:

Despite the sharp words, Weinberg said she would be willing to discuss the matter with Christie privately, “as long as I have a chance to answer before I’m escorted out.”

I’m Back…..

…..from a happily chaotic Thanksgiving family week in Los Angeles.  Hope you all had a great holiday, and are now enjoying Hanukkah. If you are not lighting the Menorah, make sure you at least eat a couple of potato latkes.

Press Conference at 11 a.m. today in Trenton on government transparency. We will announce our new and very stringent Pay-to-Play bill.  This should be part of the “tool kit” because political contributions from state and local contractors definitely add to the cost of government in our state and contribute to our escalating property taxes. This new bill will establish one state-wide standard in New Jersey, and I’ve been working on it with the help of the Citizens Campaign. I will be joined by my colleague Assemblyman Gordon Johnson.  We will also call attention to our newly updated Open Public Meetings Act and Open Public Records Act and will ask that they be posted for Committee hearings in December or January.  These bills go hand-in-hand with the new issue-advocacy disclosure bill sponsored by Senator Barbara Buono and me.  The passage of these bills together will decrease the cost of government and will increase government transparency.  We’ve been waiting patiently to hear if the Republicans in the legislature and the Governor will join in a bipartisan effort to get these bill passed.

Medical Marijuana “agreement”? I was a little surprised at the news report and look forward to hearing personally from Senator Nick Scutari.  Senator Scutari has been an outstanding advocate for this important issue, and if an “agreement” was reached without his input,  at the very least I am disappointed.  My husband, Irwin, died from cancer almost 12 years ago.  We were both deprived of any meaningful communication during his last days with us because he was treated with morphine.  Perhaps medical marijuana could have made him comfortable and would have enabled us to share more experiences during those days.  Of course, I will never know that for sure. However, what I do know, is that patients and their doctors should have as much right to be treated with medical marijuana as they today have a right to be prescribed morphine or oxycontin or any other controlled dangerous substance to treat pain in terminally ill patients. Is anybody asking a Doc to warn a terminally ill person to substitute another less effective medication for morphine? Is a doctor forced to tell a seriously ill patient that he must wean that patient off oxycontin every three months?  How demeaning to both patient and medical professional. Please don’t tell me that my good colleague, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, made a bad deal with the Governor! I guess we’ll soon find out.

Will be chairing the Senate Health, Human Services & Senior Services Committee this afternoon. Probably one of my bills which will cause the most comment is the requirement that certified advance practice nurses must continue to be supervised by anesthesiologists in the administration of general anesthesia. Lots of pros and cons on both sides of this issue, and I’m sure we’ll hear it all.

So we have a busy December ahead of us with more committee days and another voting session.  We’ll be dealing with more “tool kit” legislation and another try at women’s access to family planning.  Every Republican in the Assembly voted “No” or abstained on covering more folks under medicaid for family planning and basic medical care. A bill which will result in $9 for every $1 put up by the State. What is wrong with these folks? What has this Governor given them to make so many of them march in unison while they raise so few questions? It’s hard to understand and I must admit, it makes me particularly discouraged about the women of the legislature working together on issues of importance to our families.

Carol Hoernlein housewarming 12/5/10
Blue Jerseyans & friends Hoernlein, Lento, Parano, Weinberg & Mazza

Hey, a few of us “North Jersey/Blue Jersey” followers, writers and bloggers were invited to join Carol Hoernlein (and Eric) to celebrate a wonderful housewarming in their “tiny house with the big kitchen”. Nick Lento, Carol H, Rocco (of “let’s  draft Rocco” and “I still love the Governor” while “I still love Rocco”) Mazza, Dave Parano, Chief Ron Holloway and many others had a lovely afternoon with lots of good company, good food, political talk and we’re all connected through Blue Jersey discussions. Great fun for those of us Bergen County types!  Great to see Carol looking so well, happy and coming back to our Blue Jersey blogs.  

Note to Jay Lassiter & Rosi Efthim:  Maybe you can find Keith Chaudruc of Madison who took on the Governor at the Parsippany Town Meeting and get his side of the story for our own Blue Jersey UTube.  According to news reports, Mr. Chaudruc was escorted on and off the stage by a state trooper and never got Mr. Christie to answer any of his questions. Might be an interesting interview.

Keep your voices heard!


Friday: Christie “Town Hall” in Parsippany

Confirmed by Parsippany Patch:

Go. Chris Christie “Town Hall”

Friday, 2:30pm

Morris County Public Safety Academy

500 Hanover Ave., Parsippany

For the most part, attendance at Gov. Christie’s “Town Hall” meetings (air quotes for heavily stacked GOP audiences) has been a 2-track thing: GOP & Christie supporters get word first, public and press get little advance notice. Hell, if it wasn’t for the intrepid Deciminyan catching up with Christie in Moorestown & Gloucester County we might really feel left out. This, with the new media-savvy video propagandizing of Christie YouTube “moments” help Christie forward the idea that when he addresses the citizenry, they either lap up every word or are humiliated by a governor smarter and better than they are (the same effect right-wing radio hosts produce by editing which callers get on air and using the mute button to overtalk anyone who doesn’t think they’re a “great American”).

Parsippany might just be a showdown. School Superintendent Lee Seitz is the governor’s latest piñata, Christie calling him the “poster boy for greed and arrogance”  (another YouTube moment), even as the town school board twice approves his contract extension over salary caps not yet in place and over the governor’s objection. But even on the Parsippany School Board the issue doesn’t rest easy. Board member Michael Strumolo is against the district spending money on a lawsuit against the state, and it is Strumolo who invited Christie, via Morris GOP Chair John Sette.

It’s a real issue, one I have some sympathy for the governor on. Some superintendent salaries are mammoth, and the extension of this one was negotiated well before the cap goes into effect, lending some real question to whether Seitz and the school board conspired to game the system other districts will have live by. At issue, local control of schools versus controlling costs and symbolic restraints on some, not all, public employees. And at issue, inconsistent rules on which districts have to follow rules and which don’t (Christie’s hometown Superintendent Kristopher Harrison dodges the cap). Where do you come down on this, Blue Jersey?

So, any Blue Jerseyans planning to check out Christie’s “Town Hall” Friday? If you go, please let us know what you think. Better yet, bring a video camera & tripod.