PARSIPPANY — The former superintendent of Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Schools was accused of sexual harassment by a former secretary where he was recently employed.
Seitz served as interim superintendent of Holmdel schools from May 2020 to December 2021. He resigned for “personal reasons.”
Marie Deane, who has worked for Holmdel Township Public Schools since 2014, claimed in the lawsuit that Seitz repeatedly made misogynistic, sexually harassing, and discriminatory comments to Holmdel’s board of education staff members.
The lawsuit filed in Monmouth County Superior Court on March 15, also named district human resources manager Elena Jaume and the board of education.
It seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages and back pay and benefits following Deane’s reinstatement to her executive secretary position after being reassigned to Holmdel High School.
It also requested the defendants undergo anti-discrimination and harassment training.
On September 24, 2021, Seitz informed the Holmdel board of education’s interim director of student services, Carolyn Marano, that several women who attended a recent meeting with him dressed provocatively in an attempt to persuade him on various topics discussed at the meeting, the complaint alleged.
The complaint also alleged that on October 18, 2021, Seitz inappropriately discussed a school nurse’s concern with a parent’s request to provide cream to a student’s genital area, saying, “Oh, come on Carolyn, we’ve got to have several pedophiles on staff that would volunteer to put Desitin on the child, haha. I want to see the job description for this, haha.”
The lawsuit said that when Deane spoke up about the harassing and discriminatory comments, she was “forced to work from home while Seitz, remarkably, suffered no consequences and/or discipline whatsoever.”
Seitz obtained Deane’s work passwords and rummaged through her accounts while she was working from home in an attempt to learn the details of her complaints about his comments, the lawsuit said.
“Even worse, Defendant Seitz ultimately locked her out of her work accounts, effectively prohibiting her from completing her work assignments,” the lawsuit said.
Former Governor Chris Christie imposed a superintendent salary cap of $175,000 that took effect in February 2011 and criticized the Parsippany Board of Education for approving a 2009 amendment to Seitz’s contract that raised his salary for the 2009-10 school year to a base of $212,020. With additional stipends and increases over the terms of that five-year contract, Seitz stood to collect as much as $234,065 in the final year.
Christie publicly criticized the move, referring to Seitz as “The poster boy for greed.” Faced with the potential loss of $2.3 million in state aid for the next school year, the board on July 12, 2011, passed a resolution to rescind the contract.
The board under threat of lost state aid and other sanctions, later reduced Seitz’s salary by $43,000 to comply with the cap. Seitz then sued the Parsippany Board of Education and former Executive County Superintendent Kathleen Serafino for breach of contract. The Board of Education filed a counterclaim to recoup the overpayment of salary to Seitz.
Seitz then retired from Parsippany-Troy Hills in May 2013; and was rehired on December 1, 2015, as an intern Superintendent and received a contract that ran through June 2016. (Click here to view the contract). His base pay is $682 per day, which calculates to an annual salary of $177,580. (Click here to read the related article)
Seitz returned to his former post, which was vacated in September 2015 following another controversy that resulted in the resignation of Superintendent Scott Rixford.
On May 30, 2015, Administrative Law Judge J. Howard Solomon in Newark dismissed with prejudice Seitz’s petition and concluded that the Board of Education was entitled to recoup the salary paid to Seitz over and above the adjusted salary cap of $177,500.