State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent-Panepinto Monday afternoon denied a temporary restraining order filed by former Buffalo School Board Park District member Carl Paladino to keep the seat vacant. The same day, the Buffalo School Board chose Paladino's replacement.
Paladino was removed from the seat by New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia last month for revealing discussions that had taken place in executive session.
Paladino sought to have the seat remain vacant until the entire process of his removal was settled in the courts, but Nugent-Panepinto said leaving the seat vacant would cause more harm.
Although she could not speak for Paladino, Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold told WBFO she did not expect the legal wrangling to be over. Seals Nevergold suggested the case may move to Albany, where the Education Commissioner is located. However, she said that is the same Education Commissioner who removed Paladino from the Board.
The Board on Monday also concluded its interviews of candidates looking to fill the vacancy. Seals Nevergold said of the original 19 applications and 15 interviews, the Board approved Catherine Flanagan-Priore to fill Paladino's seat.
Flanagan-Priore is a psychologist in the Hematology/Oncology Department at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo. Seals Nevergold said what struck Board members as Flanagan-Priore's most outstanding qualities over the other candidates was her history of working with children and families.
"Particularly her knowledge of the needs of those children she works with in pediatric Oncology and the families of those children. She has a background of working with various populations of some of our most vulnerable populations," Seals Nevergold said. "She also demonstrated values and beliefs that support the New Education Bargain. As you know, we're into our second full year of the New Education Bargain, with an emphasis on community schools, parental engagement, teacher support - and her responses to the questions that the Board asked indicated that she would be someone that would be very supportive of all of the tenets of the New Education Bargain."
Seals Nevergold said Flanagan-Priore came across as "very genuine," as a longtime city resident "invested in the city" and someone who "will not have a very steep learning curve because she already comes in with some understanding of some of the major issues that we face in the district."
She said a special meeting of the Board will be held Wednesday afternoon to swear in Flanagan-Priore.