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Common Council calls for Paladino's ouster from school board

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Council members voted unanimously on Tuesday to seek the removal of Carl Paladino from the Buffalo School Board by State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. The move is mostly symbolic since the Council has little sway in the affairs of the Buffalo School District.

The Council wants the commissioner to investigate racial comments made to the alternative weekly Artvoice about President Obama and Michelle Obama and decide if they warrant removal.

"This cannot be tolerated any longer. Mr. Paladino: You have to go," said Reverend Mark Blue, the new local president of the NAACP, who attended Tuesday's session.

"My hope is that he will go and resign and not have to be put out. Cause, whenever you are put out it has a lasting effect. He is causing havoc with our state and with our city."

Council Member David Franczyk has long been considered close to the controversial developer but said what Paladino said goes beyond First Amendment rights and justifies removal, just as former Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Commissioner Joseph Mascia was removed from the recorded racist comments.

"The question is: Under the law in the state is there certain codes of conduct that would be injurious to fulfilling the mission of that organization, whether it's the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority or the state courts as of today have upheld that Mr. Mascia had to be removed," Franczyk said.

"We don't know yet if Ms. Elia will deliberate that and if she will remove him. I believe she should remove him."

The school board meets Thursday afternoon in Council chambers to debate removing Paladino from the board.

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.