It could be a few weeks before State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia issues her decision on Carl Paladino. The hearing to remove Paladino ended yesterday in Albany. Elia will render a written ruling, but hasn't indicated when it will be ready. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley has reaction to the hearing from a Buffalo school parent and the Mayor.
"We can't let it stop us. We must move forward. We can't let it prevent our children from getting an excellent education,” responded Mayor Byron Brown.
WBFO News caught up with the Mayor at a Say Yes Buffalo event Wednesday afternoon.
In late December Brown told us he believed Paladino should resign after making his racists remarks in the Artvoice article against the Obamas. But this time Brown was cautious in responding to that question and instead referred to the legal hearing Commissioner Elia held.
“The process needs to play itself out. The commissioner, based on a week of testimony, will be rendering a decision and I think the process on all sides of this issue have been able to have their say,” Mayor Brown responded.
However, the Mayor did indicate relations on the school board remain “fractured” and community members upset by Paladino's comments.
“People in the community are embittered, people are hurt by the comments, so at this point a process has been undertaken. It has been a very intense – very expensive, very lengthy process – a judicial process and I hope the right outcome comes out of the process,” Brown replied.
In his testimony this week, Paladino said regretted those remarks. But Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO) member Rachel Dominguez, said she was very disappointed Paladino failed to use the hearing to apologize to the school community and students.
“I really was disappointed that he did not even acknowledge that the children in the school district were also affected significantly by his words and the vitriol that he put out,” Dominguez said. “I also think that these statements have been characterized as being about the Obamas and that that’s why the outrage exist. But I think that if these statements were made about any other person, that they would still be quite inappropriate and broken he school district’s code of conduct – the code of conduct that he swore to uphold when he took his oath as a board member.”
Dominguez won the lottery for a hearing seat. She attended all five days. She said given the amount legal information revealed throughout the hearing, she now understands why Commissioner Elia needs more time to make a ruling.
What remains unclear is the other three petitions, including one from her organization (BPTO). Those petitions remain before the education commissioner, also calling for Paladino’s removal, but so far have not been addressed.