The ball is in Carl Paladino’s court for at least a day. Thursday afternoon, the Buffalo Public School Board passed a resolution formally calling for Paladino to resign from his post within 24 hours.
Six members voted in favor of the resolution during a special board meeting to discuss derogatory and racially charged comments the businessman recently made to the alternative Buffalo newspaper, Artvoice, regarding President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Two members, Paladino allies Patti Pierce and Larry Quinn, voted against it.
Nearly every member had prepared a written statement to read before the vote. Pierce and Quinn both made clear they disapproved of the comments, which included wishing the president would die of mad cow disease and the first lady would “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”
The two members said they prefer Paladino have a chance to apologize to the parents and students in the predominantly black district, than be forced out. Other members said the comments were part of a pattern and racism and he could no longer effectively make policy decisions.
Paladino was not present at the meeting but quickly responded to the board’s decision. He reiterated he has no intention of stepping down and believes any attempt to remove him from office will go nowhere.
“It is certainly not an illustration of courage or leadership on the part of the council members, legislators, mayor or county executive, who have joined in the chorus of racist and incompetent Board of Ed members seeking my removal, so as to push back on me to not disclose their culpability in rigging the recent teacher’s contract, or their complicity in trying to unfairly settling the board’s $450 million lawsuit against (developer) Lou Ciminelli for fleecing the citizens and children of Buffalo. It’s going to be a very combative year,” he said in a statement.
Paladino has not explained yet how he believes the recently passed agreement with the Buffalo Teachers Federation was rigged but said there’s more to come. If he does refuse to step down, the resolution calls for the board to seek outside counsel in order to submit an application to the state education commissioner to remove him.
Two other groups, the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization and the District Parent Coordinating Council, have also said they plan to appeal to NYSED.
“We will continue to closely monitor the actions by the Buffalo School Board, the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization and others on this matter. Once we receive an application for removal, we will review it as quickly as possible. We continue to review all of our options,” NYSED spokesperson Emily DeSantis said. Post