Paterson Top Stories

Expansion of School District's Legal Staff Comes Under Fire

January 24, 2013 at 11:12 AM


PATERSON, NJ – City school board members Wednesday night raised objections to the district’s plans to create the new position of deputy counsel in the legal department.

Board members said the plan to hire a high-salaried in-house lawyer caught them by surprise. They asserted that state-appointed superintendent Donnie Evans should have given them an explanation for creating the new job and they wondered whether the money would be better spent on other needs in the district, such as student assistance counselors or parent coordinators.

Sign Up for E-News

“This is like a runaway train,’’ said school board member Errol Kerr. “There’s absolutely no justification or internal documents (on the position). We have to stop this.’’

“I don’t know if what we need is a deputy,’’ said board member Alex Mendez, suggesting that the district should consider hiring a staff lawyer with a lesser title and a lower salary.

In face of the criticism, Evans agreed to hold off on the hiring a deputy counsel until after the situation could be discussed with the board at a special meeting on January 30. Lisa Pollak, the district’s general counsel, said the district had not yet picked someone for the position or even published an advertisement seeking applicants for the deputy job.

Officials did not say what the deputy’s salary would be. Pollak’s salary is $170,000. The district recently created another new position in the law department, hiring a paralegal, board members said.

Paterson Public Schools currently uses a combination of salaried in-house legal staff and outside law firms that are paid by the hour. Evans told the board members that the district could handle its legal work more efficiently and more cost effectively by hiring a deputy.  Evans said he would provide the board members with data on how much is spent on outside counsel.

“You may find that to be a very interesting figure because we don’t have enough coverage in-house for many of the activities for a district of our size,’’ Evans said.

School board president Christopher Irving said it’s possible that the hiring of a deputy is justified. But, he said, the board has no way of knowing that because Evans had not provided the necessary information. Irving objected to the fact that board members learned of the proposed hiring “through happenstance.’’

 Board member Manuel Martinez said the situation provided another example of the “lack of communication”” between the district’s administration and the board.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Sat, October 22, 9:00 AM

College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown

Open House and Fall Fest



Sun, October 23, 3:00 PM

River Dell High School Auditorium, Oradell

Adelphi Orchestra - Slavic Celebration: Young ...

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, November 15, 3:00 PM

Governor Paterson Towers I, Paterson

Free Diabetes Program in Spanish (El Programa de ...

Education Health & Wellness

Going Toe to Toe

There are a lot of body parts I’m not particularly happy with (you thighs know who you are), but the one part of me I’ve never been bothered by is my feet. Not to be conceited, but I’ve always thought I had pretty nice feet, as far as feet go. They are not too fat or too thin, my arches are not too high or too low, and my toes all line up nicely in descending order. I ...

Woodland Park Residents Will Vote to Reopen School 1, As Crowding At Memorial Becomes An Issue

October 18, 2016

LITTLE FALLS, NJ – On November 8, Woodland Park residents will have the opportunity to vote for the school district’s bond referendum to reopen School No. 1, located on McBride Avenue.

The school district is in favor of reopening School No. 1 to address overcrowding at Memorial Middle School. There are currently classes being taught in the cafeteria and the library due to the ...

Impact 100 Garden State Announces Seven Finalists; Welcomes Wendy Steele as Keynoter

October 18, 2016

When Impact 100 Garden State arrived in New Jersey in 2012, it offered women an innovative way to transform the act of charitable giving.  The effort was local, but the founders’ inspiration came from Wendy Steele who created the Impact 100 concept in Cincinnati 2001. Her idea was straightforward: first recruit 100 women who would donate $1,000 each, then pool the money to fund a local ...