Paterson Education Association
December 29, 2017, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Union leader cleared of tenure charges
Arbitrator dismisses suspension, concludes filing unwarranted
PATERSON- Paterson Education Association (PEA) President John McEntee, Jr. has been vindicated in his battle with school district officials over his behavior while advocating for his union colleagues.
On December 27, arbitrator James Mastriani dismissed the Paterson school district’s request to justify placing McEntee on an unpaid suspended leave last April and concluded the district was unwarranted in proceeding with tenure charges after a contentious December 2016 grievance meeting between McEntee and former district administrator Dr. Sharon Davis.
“I am pleased that the arbitrator found that my comments and actions towards Ms. Davis in this meeting occurred under the umbrella of protected activity as union president and were not insubordinate, threatening, nor harassing in nature,” McEntee stated. “More importantly, I hope my exoneration will be viewed as evidence that PEA members and building representatives never should be afraid of standing up to those in authority and fight for our rights under the contract.”
Since becoming president in 2015, McEntee has been an outspoken advocate for his members and frequent critic of the district’s leadership, specifically former state-appointed Superintendent Donnie Evans, who, like Davis, left the district shortly after the charges were filed against McEntee.
“I am passionate about what I do and advocating for the students, staff, and community of Paterson,” McEntee continued. “I am pleased to see that the arbitrator saw through the district’s obvious attempt at trying to paint my actions as intimidating and suggest that any local leaders who stand up for what’s right are nothing more than union thugs.”
McEntee sees this decision as an opportunity to restore respect for the union’s role protecting the middle class, specifically in New Jersey’s public schools.
“Make no mistake: This was nothing more than an expensive fishing expedition to see if it’s possible to silence the voices and shackle the actions of those who dare to challenge the ongoing and universal fight to erode our country’s unions,” McEntee declared. “This is not only a win for the Paterson Education Association; this is a decisive victory for our colleagues throughout the state.”