Ex-Paterson school secretary accuses Shafer of defamation | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Ex-Paterson school secretary accuses Shafer of defamation

By Jayed Rahman
Published: December 14, 2020

eileen-shafer

A school secretary forced to resign for allegedly altering the work time records for herself and her daughter is accusing superintendent Eileen Shafer of defamation.

Yvonne Williams, a former School 4 employee, filed a defamation lawsuit against the district on November 18. She names Shafer and several other officials in the lawsuit.

Williams claims her reputation was damaged and she was placed in a negative light after the school district released the records of her alleged misconduct to news organizations.

Shafer and others released the information “with malice and with the intent to harm” Williams, she claims in the lawsuit, “by making it hard if not impossible for her to secure future employment.”

Williams’ lawsuit states the story about her alleged misconduct was covered in local newspapers, on the internet, social medial, and local television news broadcast. She has not been able to find a job since leaving the district. She had worked for the district for 19 years when she was forced to resign. She had to seek an indigent fee waiver to file the lawsuit. She filed the complaint “pro se,” serving as her own lawyer in the case.

“We cannot comment on pending litigation, except to say that we were merely complying with New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act and never intended to insult or harm Ms. Williams,” said Daniel Kevin Juan, a spokesman for Shafer on Friday.

Tampering with public records or information is a crime. School officials did not attempt to prosecute and bring criminal charges against Williams for her alleged conduct.

Williams, former head secretary at School 4, allegedly changed her work time entries on Kronos, the district’s time clock system for employees, 188 times from Jul. 3, 2018 through Mar. 15, 2019. As a result of the changes Williams was “paid for time she did not work,” according to documents obtained by the Paterson Times last year.

Ironically, Williams appears to have borrowed a page from Shafer in making the defamation allegations.

Shafer has made questionable allegations of defamation against a district gym teacher. She claimed the teacher “slandered” “libeled” and “defamed” her at public meetings. It’s nearly impossible for a public official to win a defamation case in the U.S.

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