PATERSON – The president of the city teachers union has filed a legal notice warning he may file a lawsuit against the Paterson school district over the disciplinary charges filed against him.
John McEntee Jr., president of the Paterson Education Association, was suspended without pay at the start of April on “unbecoming conduct” charges stemming from a confrontation he had with a vice principal at School 4 last December.
McEntee is accused of intimidating the Vice Principal Sharon Davis by waving his finger at her and shouting in her face. The district’s tenure charges are not seeking to fire McEntee, but suspend him.
In a legal notice filed last month, McEntee’s lawyer, Ronald Ricci, asserted that the charges “were brought to intimidate, slander, libel and humiliate” the union president because “he has been an outspoken critic” of Paterson’s state-appointed Superintendent Donnie Evans.
Ricci’s notice of potential legal claim argued that several witnesses refuted the district’s account of what happened between McEntee and Davis.
The school district did not respond to a request for its reaction to McEntee’s threat of a lawsuit. School board President Christopher Irving declined to comment on the situation. A hearing on the charges against McEntee has been scheduled for August. Davis already has left Paterson, having taken a job in Hoboken last spring. The state did not renew Evans’ contract for next year and he has decided to retire effective June 30.
McEntee has continued serving as union president in the aftermath of his suspension. Under the labor contract, the union president does not handle any teaching duties but simply handles union-related business. The president is paid through the district payroll.
City education sources said that the union has been paying McEntee since his suspension. McEntee declined to comment.