Does NJ Education Commissioner Cerf have the right to impose salary caps on school superintendent salaries? Yup, says the Court:
The questions presented are whether: the salary cap exceeds
the authority delegated to the Commissioner by the Legislature
in N.J.S.A. 18A:7-1 to -16 (L. 2007, c. 63, §§ 42-58) or
violates the Separation of Powers Clause, N.J. Const. art. III,
¶ 1; the cap on salary conflicts with the authority of a local
school board to fix its superintendent's salary, N.J.S.A.
18A:17-19; application of the salary cap to superintendents
whose contracts expired on June 30, 2011 is precluded by
N.J.S.A. 18A:17-20.1 or -20.2; and the Commissioner violated the
rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (the
Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 to -24, by directing the ECSs to suspend
review of renegotiated contracts pending adoption of the salary
caps. Concluding that the answer to each of the foregoing
questions is "No," we uphold the agency's actions.
Three superintendents had challenged
the annual salary cap – up to $125K for little districts and no more than $175K
for larger districts (with exceptions
for really big districts, districts with high schools, and Abbotts) -- because
it significantly reduced their salaries. At the time of the suit, Robert
Holster of Passaic had a negotiated salary of $218,762, which was reduced to
$177,500; James F. O’Neill of the Chathams had a salary of $217,213, which was
reduced to $165,000; and Rene Rovtar of Long Hill had a salary of $155,000,
which was reduced to $145,000.
Here’s more coverage from NJ Spotlight and Star-Ledger. Many commentators have noted the cognitive
dissonance produced by a Republican governor who disdains free market principles. What would Romney say?