The head of the city’s teachers’ union is back on the district payroll after going without pay for 120 days.
John McEntee, president of the Paterson Education Association, was placed back on payroll on Sept. 1, 2017, according to the district. His salary is $68,500.
McEntee still remains technically suspended, but with pay. He was placed on suspension without pay on March 30th, 2017 after the school board certified tenure charges against him.
McEntee is accused of two counts of conduct unbecoming stemming from a Dec. 19, 2016 incident at the Frank Napier Academy. He was at the school with two other union officials that day to question vice principal Sharon Davis about a confidentiality clause in the signature of her emails to teachers.
McEntee told Davis that clause was sufficient for the union to file a grievance, according to the testimony of a supervisor, who was in the meeting room, when the incident occurred. The exchange became tense and the vice principal ordered the union chief out of her office. She called security to have him escorted out.
McEntee has maintained he was conducting “protected union activity” at the school. He is accused of threatening and “verbally and physically” intimidating Davis. He is also accused of “falsely” stating he was “forcibly rejected” from the school by security.
Surveillance footage released by the district as part of an open records request showed McEntee and the other two union officials leaving school building without intervention from security staff.
McEntee did not respond to a call and message seeking his comment for this story.
School board members were unaware the union president was placed back on the payroll. School officials said the district is abiding by state law which states, “if the arbitrator does not make a determination of the charges within 120-calendar days after the charges have been certified, excluding all delays which are granted at the request of the employee against whom the charges are filed, then the employee’s salary shall recommence on the 121st day, assuming that the suspension has been without pay.”
The hearing on McEntee’s tenure charges began on Thursday morning. McEntee’s lawyer Sanford Oxfeld has opposed having reporters present during the hearing process. Hearing is expected to continue on Tuesday, according to lawyers.