The New York State Education Department is ordering a hearing for Carl Paladino. This is in response to the Buffalo Board of Education's request to remove Paladino from the city school board. WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley was first to report Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has ordered the hearing be held June 22 in Albany.
"I think that it is important to point out the commissioner has set aside essentially seven days for the hearing,” said Dennis Vacco, Paladino's attorney.
Vacco said they are pleased the commissioner has set a hearing date. There have been numerous demands filed demanding Paladino be removed. It started when Artvoice published a survey with Paladino making racists remarks against the Obamas in late December.
The school board is seeking to remove Paladino for violating board rules for publicly releasing information discussed in executive session about teachers’ contract talks. Vacco said he expects the possibility of a ruling following the seven day hearing.
“The burden is always on the petitioner, and in this instance they are going to have to show by clear and convincing standard that the allegations in their petition, which we think frankly are really just a subterfuge to retaliate against Mr. Paladino for the intemperate remarks he made at the end of December. At the end of the day, the petitioner has the burden of proof of going forward and we plan on holding their feet to the fire on their burden,” remarked Vacco.
The State Education Department’s order says the hearing will be held for a “show of cause” of why Paladino “should or should not be removed.”
Buffalo School Board member Larry Quinn defends Paladino's information on the teachers’ contract.
“If you’re going to toss people off the board for disclosing to the public what we do as a board, that effects every taxpayer, not just people with kids in school, that’s a very bad standard to deny the representative the people elected,” responded Quinn. “You know maybe you might want to reprimand him, maybe you might want to fine him, I don’t know, but to undo an election for something like that, is really outrageous,” remarked Quinn.
The Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO) also issued an application to have Paladino removed. However, the education department's order only refers to the School Board's application for the June hearing. BPTO co-chair Larry Scott questions if they will be included in a hearing.
“Our attorneys feel strong that our case is sound, comprehensive and we hope that it is consider and on the table when the commissioner makes a decision on Mr. Paladino’s removal. We just feel strongly that this attempt for a ‘stay order’ – this threat for a federal lawsuit is just an attempt to intimidate the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization, the Buffalo parents in our petition and in this process, and we feel strongly that we are going to continue, we’re going to persist with this and not be intimated by Mr. Paladino and these current actions,” said Scott.
The State Education Department denied Paladino’s stay order request and also affidavits submitted by school board members Quinn and Patty Pierce.
WBFO reached Paladino by phone Tuesday afternoon, but he declined an interview.
The following is the full statement issued by NYSED:
State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia ordered a hearing in the matter of the application of the Buffalo City School District for the removal of Carl Paladino as a member of the Board of Education of the Buffalo City School District.
The hearing will start at 9:00 a.m. on June 22 at the State Education Department building in Albany, NY.
While the hearing is open to the public, very limited seating is available due to space limitations. A process for attendance will be announced closer to the hearing date.