The head of an Englewood Charter charter school - who is also president of the Garfield Board of Education - must repay more than $500,000 in state pension payments he collected improperly over the last decade, an administrative law judge has ruled.
The court did not buy Anthony Barckett's claim that he was a six-figure consultant, rather than a regular employee, at the 200-student Englewood at the Palisades Charter School. Pension rules forbid retirees from working as regular, long-term employees for another district while collecting retirement benefits. Barckett retired as Garfield's school business administrator in 1997 and has been collecting a pension ever since…
The judge noted that Barckett is responsible for hiring and supervising staff and overseeing finances and state compliance at the school.
Barckett earned more than $152,000 for what he claims was a part-time consultancy at the K-5 charter school last year, according to the court papers.
Additionally, he collected $5,800 a month in retirement payments from the state Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), according to the state treasury departmentTreasury Department [sic]…
Barckett said he will appeal the decision to state superior court Superior Court and referred calls to his attorney, Michael Oropollo of Hackensack. Oropollo referred to briefs he filed in the case in which he argues that a 1999 letter from the pension division said Barckett could be an independent contractor. In the briefs, Oropollo noted facts that he said bolster's the claim that Barckett is not a regular employee - namely that he does not get sick or vacation time or punch a clock, only works part- time for the school, and pays an unincorporated business tax…
Barckett testified that he believes his compensation is less than what others would be earning in similar positions based on his experience, according to the court papers. But state records show he is one of the highest-paid charter school directors in the state, most of whom work full- time.
Rosa Bland, board president of the Englewood charter school, declined to comment on the issue...
Barckett's pension was based on a final average salary of $105,680.96 as Garfield business administrator, according to the treasuryTreasury Department [sic].
Barckett left that job in 1997 during a brouhaha over board spending at an Atlantic City convention. At the time, Barckett claimed he was made a scapegoat for the board. He had a hotel bill of $1,640 that included more than $1,000 in room service charges. He reimbursed the district $983 and was later asked by the state to return another an additional $244 that was spent on cab fare and luggage handling.
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Palisades Charter School
LEADER OF ENGLEWOOD CHARTER SCHOOL MUST REPAY $500,000 IN PENSION PAYMENTS, COURT RULES; March 9, 2011; The Record via NorthJersey.com (Bergen County, NJ)