A former Pleasantville School District human resources director was awarded $95,000 after a 5-1 vote to approve the settlement amount at a school board meeting Tuesday night.
The total covers damages sought by plaintiff James Ruffin in a case that ended in a settlement last week in Atlantic County Superior Court Civil Division, according to board President Doris Graves.
Ruffin initially sought about $138,000 to compensate living off his savings after he was put on paid administrative leave and terminated in August 2010. In addition, his firing was changed to a resignation in good standing, his lawyer, Arthur Murray, said after the settlement was reached.
Board of Education representative Ronald Hunt said at the start of the trial that the reason for the termination was related to what former Superintendent Gloria Grantham deemed a “deceitful” attempt to provide written proof of a decision made prior to her arrival.
Ruffin believed he was fired because he attempted to help the board avoid a lawsuit in 2010 after the board chose not to renew the contract of an employee who had been on maternity leave. In his lawsuit, Ruffin said he believed not renewing the contract of an employee while they were on approved sick time was the same as termination and could result in a lawsuit for the board.
Murray has said that Ruffin was able to get the decision reversed, but when Grantham took over as superintendent, there was no documentation that the board had reversed its decision
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