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School board members clash again

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The Buffalo School Board twists and turns continue, with the general counsel suing School Board Member Carl Paladino. In turn, Paladino is threatening to go after her license to practice law.

Perhaps the low light of a school board meeting two weeks ago was General Counsel Rashondra Martin screaming across the room at Paladino after he called her "ignorant."

It's become worse since then, with her filing of racism and sexism charges with the State Division of Human Rights. Because of this, she can't advise the board and that leaves her job status unclear. She's declining comment on the situation.

Paladino said the school board will defend him against her.

"It's not a lawsuit, it's a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights," Paladino said.

"It was filed by Rashondra Martin against me. I gave notice to the school board. They are going to provide a defense and indemnification. I don't see any merit to it at all."

During Wednesday night's board meeting, there was long discussion of when the board will pay for legal defense of a board member, leaving it vague.

Interim Schools Superintendent Donald Ogilvie said he's looking for a deputy schools superintendent. When hired, that person is likely to become the superintendent after Ogilvie leaves and the choice will probably be from the current school staff.

WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley spoke with North District Board Member Jay McCarthy about future leaders.  McCarthy, a member of the board's majority, indicated it is a priority to begin selecting a new leader. "And I think we need to start to go through the process of finding a new, at least deputy superintendent to actually fill that roll, and then move into the superintendent role," said McCarthy.

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley asks board member Jay McCarthy about future leadership.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
School Board Members at City Hall.

Over the last couple of months word surfaced that majority board members are reportedly considering a principal as a possible superintendent replacement. But McCarthy would not commit.

"I want to see candidates who come forward. That's the next effort is to see who is out there, who is interest and who is willing to take on this challenge," stated McCarthy. 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.