Assemblyman says protocol is to hold Paladino hearing in Albany, not Buffalo

Jun 5, 2017

Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino is scheduled to appear in Albany later this month for a New York State Education Department hearing. Members of Showing Up for Racial Justice in Buffalo want the June 22 hearing moved to Buffalo. But WBFO Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley talked to a state lawmaker who said it is protocol to hold the hearing in Albany.

“I applaud the commissioner for moving this Paladino case forward. She has really taken her time on it and she has made sure the process is being honored,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan of Buffalo.

Protests held last winter against Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Ryan said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will begin review of a petition filed by the Buffalo School Board that calls for removal of Paladino for violating executive session rules. Paladino published executive session discussions about the teachers contract. Those sessions are to remain private.

“It’s an extreme violation. School districts and boards are allowed to go to executive session for certain confidential matters, and that’s matters that shouldn’t be released to the public,” Ryan explained.

Commissioner Elia has denied a request to move the hearing to Buffalo. Ryan tells WBFO News the hearings should remain in Albany.

“This proceeding is the commissioner’s proceeding of the State of New York. Those proceedings are held in Albany, just like any court case they’re open to the public. Transcripts will be made available and they are not participatory events in the matter that you can go and participate. You can go and watch, but you can’t make your voice heard in these types of proceedings – only people who are on the witness list can do that,” Ryan remarked.  

Past protests against Carl Paladino staged in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

The school board and other organizations have been calling on Commissioner Elia to remove Paladino since his racist comments about former President Obama and his wife, Michelle that were published last December in Artvoice. Other petitions demanding his removal claim Paladino violated the Dignity for All Students Act with his racial comments. 

“There will possibly be several hearings on several different issues,” declared Ryan.                 

The education department has mapped out several days for the hearing.  It will be open to the public, but seating will be limited. As the hearing date approaches , an attendance process will be announced by NYSED.

“The Capitol Pressroom" radio program, heard weeknights on WBFO, said Paladino is scheduled to be a guest on the show this week.