BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Dr. Mary Guinn had her contract terminated as the high-paid consultant to Buffalo Public Schools last October, but now by a 5-3 vote by the school board, she has a three-month contract as interim deputy superintendent.
Many school board members News 4 spoke to didn’t know they would be voting on whether to approve Guinn’s appointment on Wednesday.
“I didn’t know it was coming to the board as a vote,” Mary Ruth Kapsiak said.
James Sampson added, “I was stunned and surprised and quite frankly angry. If the board has to approve this, we should have the opportunity to know that it’s coming.”
Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown said it was not her decision to wait until the end of the school board meeting to bring the matter to a vote, saying, “It was a discussion between the president of the school board and myself.”
But board president Barbara Seals Nevergold said, “I’m sorry that it unfolded that way. Initially, the plan was for the superintendent to notify the board of her decision to appoint Mary Guinn.”
Although in the past, superintendents have simply appointed a deputy, the proper legal way is for the board to actually approve it. After an executive session, sometime in the eight o’clock hour, it came up for vote.
“The superintendent has the ability to bring late items to the board and that happens without board knowledge very often,” Nevergold said.
The vote came up after the board went into executive session, after most of the media and audience had left.
“I didn’t know they were leaving and it’s very difficult to say what time. If we go into executive session right at the beginning of the meeting, we get criticized for that,” Kapsiak said.
The deputy superintendent positions had been vacant the entire time Brown has been superintendent, and she says it’s time she had help with the day-to-day operations.