Former public safety director Glenn Brown’s racial discrimination lawsuit, which has been described as “frivolous,” cost the city’s school system $13,963 in legal expenses. A Passaic County Superior Court judge dismissed his lawsuit by opining Brown did not provide any evidence of racial discrimination.
Brown, who is running for mayor in next year’s municipal elections, declined to comment for this report. He filed the lawsuit against former state-appointed district superintendent Donnie Evans after failing to secure a six-figure job at the school district. He claimed Evans racially discriminated against him (both men are African-American) and violated a contractual agreement.
Some of his opponents in next year’s race criticized Brown for costing the district money that could have been spent on education.
“My hat goes off to the school district for being courageous enough to take a stance against such a frivolous lawsuit. The city needs to take a page from that playbook. When we get sued, take these things to court, fight it out, as opposed to settling quickly,” said councilman Michael Jackson.
Brown sought a job with the district after former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres split his public safety director position at the city. Brown occupied both the fire and police director positions. Torres left him as fire director when he appointed former sheriff Jerry Speziale as police director after returning to office in 2014.
Brown resigned from the fire director post after receiving the impression from Evans that he would soon be working for the district. Evans tried to get Brown a job by creating two positions. The New Jersey Department of Education refused to approve a position for Brown, according to emails the district submitted to the court as evidence.
“I don’t know the particulars or what was the basis. It looks like it was baseless at the end of the day because he never had a contract,” said former school board member Pedro Rodriguez. Indeed, the judge in his dismissal stated there could not have been a breach of contract because Brown did not have an employment agreement with the district.
“I didn’t think the case had a lot of merit,” said councilman William McKoy.
Both Rodriguez and McKoy said Brown had a right to take the matter to the court if he felt aggrieved. “I defend his right to take the issue to court,” said McKoy. He said he would have been more “considerate” before filing papers in court.
Evans wanted to hire Brown for one of the two positions in the district — Executive Director of Transportation and Investigation Specialist or Director of Operations. Neither of the jobs materialized for Brown.
Some raised questions about Brown’s qualification for the transportation job. This led to the creation of a second job which appeared tailor made to fit Brown’s resume. Brown worked as chief of detectives for the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. He retired from that job and earns a pension of $100,000.