Calling on state Education Commissioner to remove Paladino

Dec 28, 2016

Demands to remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo School Board continue following inappropriate remarks he made for an Artvoice survey last week.  The latest call for his ouster came Tuesday from State Assemblyman Sean Ryan of Buffalo. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Ryan issued a letter to the State Education Commissioner.

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia us being urged by State Assemblyman Sean Ryan to remove Paladino from the city school board.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

“We’re hoping the commissioner acts quickly to remove Mr. Paladino before this situation gets even worse,” Assemblyman Sean Ryan said earlier this week.

Ryan said state law gives Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia the 'power to remove' a school board member if the person's actions interfere with the functioning of the board.

“If you remember, most removals we have seen have been initiated by local school boards and then the appeal goes to the commissioner. We’re asking the commissioner to exercise her power under the New York State law to directly remove a member and that’ll remove this sort of side show hearing away from the City of Buffalo and into Albany,” explained Ryan.  

State Assemblyman Sean Ryan is calling on NYSED Commissioner to remove Paladino from city school board.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

WBFO News reached out to the State Education Department. Spokesperson Emily DeSantis issued a written statement.

“Despite what one’s personal feelings may be regarding Mr. Paladino’s remarks, Education Law §306 stipulates the Commissioner’s impartial role in this matter. Therefore, the Commissioner must follow the procedure required by law for the removal of school board members,” wrote DeSantis.  

An application for removal must be filed. Elia would then be required to hold a hearing.  

"If such a removal application is filed against Mr. Paladino, the Commissioner will determine whether to order a hearing, at which Mr. Paladino will have the right to be represented by counsel, and the Commissioner will review all facts in the case before making a determination on his removal," stated NYSED.  

Paladino issued a written statement Tuesday in response to the disparaging remarks he made about President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. He said he won't resign. He offered an apology to the minority community saying he never intended to hurt them.

However, Ryan and Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization Co-chair Larry Scott are not buying his apology.

“I believe strongly that the apology was very insincere. To blame the teachers’ contract and other board members for racist and hateful comments that he has made, to me, is just not taking responsibility in any manner as a publicly elected official that represents children,” Scott stated.

“He didn’t say I regret my words. He said he regretted sending it to so many people,” remarked Ryan.  

Carl Paladino holds the Park District school board seat.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Paladino stated what he wrote was inappropriate and is taking ‘responsibility’ for what he said. But now he claims he never intended to send the answers of his 2017 ‘wish’ list to Artvoice.

“I did not mean to send those answers to Artvoice. Not that it makes any difference because what I wrote was inappropriate under any circumstance. I filled out the survey to send to a couple friends and forwarded it to them not realizing that I didn't hit “forward” I hit “reply.” All men make mistakes,” said Paladino.

Paladino also wrote about hurting his teen age daughter with his remarks saying it was horrible explaining to his 17-year-old how her "hero" could be so "stupid."