Secretaries Pursue Salary in Hackensack NJ School System

HACKENSACK – A secretary to the Superintendent of Schools is suing the Board of Education, alleging she was denied pay, and is seeking $130,000 in lost earnings and pension benefits.

Margarita Medina claims in a lawsuit filed last week in Hackensack State Superior Court that Deputy Superintendent Rosemary Marks, while serving as acting superintendent, removed a clause from her contract providing for additional compensation for long term employees.

Medina had worked as a secretary in the district for 12 years before joining the superintendent’s office in 2009.

As a confidential secretary, she was no longer part of the union or its collective agreement and instead worked under an annual individual contract.

During Medina’s first year in the position, then-superintendent Edward Kliszus included a clause in his contract providing for “longevity” pay – 2.5% of his annual base salary for every five years of employment – which was granted to executive secretaries with more than one year. ten years of service.

That clause continued in contracts with four other superintendents through 2017. But it was removed from his 2017-18 contract, after Marks was named acting superintendent, the lawsuit says.

Marks, on several occasions during her time in the district, said she believed secretaries were “overpaid,” according to the complaint.

In June 2018, she told the company’s administrator that she didn’t want to give any of the confidential employees longevity pay because “they should never have received it,” the lawsuit says.

Second secretary to prosecute

Medina’s complaint echoes a similar lawsuit filed last year by Patricia Iannacone, a district employee from 1992 until her retirement in 2020. In that complaint, Iannacone, who also worked as a confidential secretary at the office of the superintendent, claims that Marks took away his longevity. pay in 2017, which cost him $70,000 in lost income and $206,000 in future pension benefits.

In June 2018, Marks told Iannacone that she would not receive a raise and that $8,000 of the secretary’s $93,634 salary was due to the longevity factor, which she was not entitled to, according to the complaint.

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Marks allegedly threatened to get the $8,000 back one way or another. But after Iannacone ‘practically begged’ Marks not to take a pay cut, telling her of her husband’s failing health and that she was the family’s sole source of income, Marks agreed to freeze her salary instead. , says the lawsuit.

“She had no legal right to do what she did,” said Richard Salkin, an attorney representing Medina and Iannacone. “We’re just trying to get these people what their contracts specifically say and that’s really all it’s about. Why the district resists it, I leave that to them.

Marks, Superintendent Robert Sanchez and School Board President Scott James-Vickery and Vice President Anthony Rodriguez did not respond to requests for comment.

In February, Marks filed a lawsuit against the school board and a district employee in a separate case, alleging she faced a pattern of sexual and racial harassment and discrimination.

Megan Burrow is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected]: @MegBurrow

Jeremy S. McLain