NJ’s Attorney General filed an injunction today to block the $741,000 retirement package for Keansburg Schools Superintendent Barbara A. Trzeszkowski, claiming that payout breaks the public trust and is illegal. “For a school board to so outrageously enrich a former superintendent through this type of ‘golden parachute’ at the expense of the children of Keansburg and the state’s taxpayers is not only contrary to public policy and unconscionable, it violates the fiduciary duty that the board owes the public,” says the state’s brief.
The State is specifically alleging that the severance package is unlawful and should be voided because:
• it violates public policy in that public funds are being used to pay for an “unreasonable and excessive (severance) provision” benefitting Ms. Trzeskowski and not the students;
• the school board members who approved Ms. Trzeszkowski’s severance package “breached their fiduciary obligation to the citizens of Keansburg and New Jersey to adequately protect the public funds” from excessive costs; and
• the contract lacks legal “consideration” in that the severance provision was calculated based on Ms. Trzeskowski’s 30-plus years of service in Keansburg, most of which was spent in jobs other than Superintendent.
I have to say that, despite my vocation as a plaintiff’s employment lawyer, I find this severance package to be excessive. I’m sure Ms. Trzeskowski is a very fine public servant, but the State is right on this one . . . the students should come first. Keansburg needs that money more than the Superintendent does. The severance package should be redrafted to provide a saner amount.