BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has ruled Thursday to remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo Board of Education, Jay Worona, deputy executive director and general counsel for the NYS School Board Association.
The school board filed a petition to remove Paladino earlier this year after he revealed what they described as confidential information only obtained during executive sessions.
“The record demonstrates that (Paladino) disclosed confidential information regarding collective negotiations under the Taylor Law which he gained in the course of his participation as a board member in executive session.”
The commissioner says these disclosures “constituted a willful violation of law warranting his dismissal”.
The ruling comes after a five-day hearing in Albany, a formal petition by the school board for his ouster, and public outcry following his Dec. 2016 remarks about former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in Artvoice last year.
Paladino said Thursday that he believes the decision is a “sign of the times”.
“It’s like nothing’s normal anymore, or what we would refer to as legal or normal,” Paladino said. “These people in Albany, they are very easily influenced by politics.”
“I’ve been there for four years, in that seat, and I told everybody from the beginning it was going to be adversarial because what they were doing was the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result and you can’t do that,” he added. “You’re definitely maligning the rights and the entitlements of 34,000 kids who are entitled to an education.”
Watch Paladino’s statements here.
Barbara Seals Nevergold, Buffalo Board of Education president, said Thursday that the commissioner’s decision upholds “The importance of adherence to confidentiality and information discussed in executive sessions- and Mr. Paladino’s breach of this confidentiality violated his oath of office and the trust of the body and the people he was elected to serve.”
Nevergold added that the board meeting in December 2016 was “very emotionally charged” following the statements Paladino made in ArtVoice.
“Over the past couple months we’ve had some very emotionally charged meetings because the public really vehemently opposed the statements that he made and that were in the ArtVoice article,” Nevergold added. “So we’ve been trying to work through that as a board to continue to function and do what we need to do on behalf of the children of this district.”
School board member Patricia Pierce said that she didn’t feel as though Paladino’s actions warranted removal.
“I’m not here because I feel like I scored a victory, but I’m here to say that I will continue to work with my colleagues and to move this district forward as we have been all along,” Pierce said.