Duroy, who stepped down from the superintendent's post in Paterson this past Jan. 1 amid criticism, was recently hired to teach urban school management at New Jersey City University.
His time in Hoboken
Duroy, who now lives in South Amboy, was a longtime Hoboken educator and principal, but made a name for himself in the late 1980s when he was elected to the Hoboken City Council, and then in 1991, when he became Hoboken's superintendent of schools.
Duroy came to Hoboken when the district was a step away from state takeover. Test scores and facilities improved enough for the district to come out of state monitoring the following year.
In 1994, Duroy felt the heat when political rivals on the Board of Education complained that he wasn't effectively managing the district's finances. A newcomer faction took over the board and actually suspended Duroy, alleging that he had withheld information about the district's fiscal health while the board was negotiating the teachers' contract.
But Duroy was reinstated after another school board faction took over in May of 1994, and he garnered a positive reputation as someone who could turn around a school district. He was the first Latino schools superintendent in New Jersey.
Moved on to Paterson
In 1997, Duroy was hired to head up the state's largest, and arguably most troubled school district, in Paterson. The district had been taken over by the state. As a state-appointed superintendent, Duroy answered to the Department of Education, not to the school board.
In the beginning, Duroy worked the same magic in Paterson as in Hoboken. According to a story in the Bergen Record, Duroy championed new reading programs which improved students' literacy levels. Also, dropout rates decreased at some high schools and nearly 200 new classrooms were built.
But underlying his tenure were complaints from board members that because Duroy did not have to report to a Board of Education, his powers were unchecked.
These concerns turned out to be warranted.
According of a series of groundbreaking investigative stories from the Bergen Record, while Duroy was superintendent, Paterson misspent at least $50 million in school contracts on construction work for the district. Between 1999 and 2003, vendors overbilled the district. It was also alleged that some vendors paid bribes to officials to conceal the fraud. Both a contractor and the district's former maintenance supervisor have pled guilty in the scandal.
Federal and state law enforcement officials have been investigating the district. On Tuesday, the U.S. attorney general's office would not confirm or deny whether Duroy was under investigation.
Duroy himself would not comment for this article.
Under considerable pressure, Duroy formally retired from the Paterson public school system on Jan. 1.
As a former Hoboken councilman and superintendent, Duroy had a great deal of political clout in the mile-square city. In the past, he was an ally of Mayor Anthony Russo, but then he supported current Mayor David Roberts' bid to oust Russo in 2001.
Interestingly, according to the Record, lawyers and private contractors working in the Paterson school district donated $24,850 to Roberts' Hoboken United slate in 2001. Many of the donations were made on the same date, May 2, 2001.
According to the story, the contributors included: contractors Paint Smart; Olympic Window Installers, F. Antonucci & Sons, and Interstate Home Services; the law firm Hanly & Ryglicki; Paterson board counsel Gregory Johnson; attorney Paul Giblin; risk assessor Allied Risk Services; and the janitorial firm Control Building Services.
Why would those firms have such an interest in Hoboken?
Duroy told the Record that there is no connection between him and the Paterson contractors contributing to Hudson County politicians.
"I had nothing to do with that," Duroy reportedly said.
Duroy did give some Hoboken allies work in the Paterson district. Duroy hired Perry Belfiore, who is a former Hoboken school board vice president, to run the district's food services program when Duroy was first appointed in 1997. Belfiore, who is a current commissioner at the Hoboken Housing Authority, is a former employee at Epic Management, a construction management company that has been questioned by the auditors that have investigated the Paterson district's bills.
According the Record story, in an October 2003 audit, there were bills for 17 projects by Epic, which equated to about $30 million in construction assignments. But invoices and records of only two projects were in the facilities department's files.
Now teaching at NJCU
After being forced to resign, Duroy has gone back into the classroom. Ironically, he has been hired to teach Urban School Management at New Jersey City University in Jersey City.
For his time and efforts, he will be paid $60,948 a year, which he can add to the $88,116 public pension he gets, according to the Record.
Calls to Duroy's office in New Jersey City University for comment were not returned.