Paladino Makes Debut on School Board

7:51 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO - Carl Paladino lifted his right hand in the air, listened intently to the judge in front of him and then took the oath to officially serve as a member of the Buffalo Public School Board.

A few feet to his right, Superintendent Pamela Brown clapped politely.

But Paladino's not clapping for her.

Since the day of his election to the school board in May, the former gubernatorial candidate and prominent developer has called for Brown's resignation as superintendent. He says he'll make the motion to dismiss her soon.

Really soon.

"Uh, tomorrow," Paladino said, minutes after the conclusion of Monday's meeting.

The meeting ended without much fanfare. It lasted fewer than 30 minutes and served only to elect new officers. The board voted Barbara Seals-Nevergold as President, Jason McCarthy as Vice President and Theresa Harris-Tigg as Vice President of Student Achievement. Paladino nominated two other people for the first two positions, but other than that minor conflict, the meeting adjourned without any fireworks.

"I don't feel any tension at all," Paladino said.

But behind the scenes, Paladino hasn't been shy in calling for Brown's removal. In an open letter released last week, Paladino called Brown's performance as superintendent "pathetic and amateur." He also claimed that the board hired her because it "wanted a weak African-American Superintendent from out of State." Since his election, one of his major claims has also centered around his allegations of Brown defrauding the state of New York, which she has denied.

And then there's the matter of Brown's certification to work in New York schools. Paladino claimed in his letter that "she isn't certified in New York." Last week, Seals-Nevergold told 2 On Your Side that was inaccurate, and that she was indeed certified in the state of New York.

On Monday, 2 On Your Side confirmed the inaccuracy. According to the New York State Education Department, Pamela C. Brown was certified with a "School District Leader Professional Certificate" on Sept. 1, 2012, the earliest date the department would be able to certify somebody for the start of the school year.

It's just one of Paladino's many claims, but it appears to be wrong.

He wouldn't admit that until 2 On Your Side showed him the evidence.

"OK, so that was an omission on my part," Paladino said.

That doesn't sit well with John Licata, a fellow board member.

"Does it bother me? I think before you send out letters, particularly now as a board member, there has to be a great concern for vetting the facts before something is placed on paper," Licata said. "I'm sure Carl will attend to that."

No matter what Paladino is saying, though, perhaps the fact he's saying anything at all will bring attention to the board.

"If Carl can bring attention to the board and we can get the motivation from the community to improve the schools, then I think that will be a great thing."


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