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Paladino, Quinn take stand on Day 4 of removal hearing

WBFO Albany Correspondent Karen DeWitt

Carl Paladino supporter Larry Quinn was the first to testify at Tuesday's hearing before State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. Then Paladino finally took the stand on the fourth day of his removal hearing.

The defense was trying to make the point that the two board members did not discuss the Buffalo teachers contract in executive session, and that information was disclosed only after the final contract had been settled because it was a great public interest.

The School Board's majority petitioned Elia to remove Paladino from his Park District seat for violating disclosure policy about executive sessions.

However, the defense has been arguing that the effort to remove Paladino is based upon his comments about President and Michelle Obama, which many have found offensively racist. He told a local newspaper he wanted to see Obama dead of mad cow disease.

The Republican Paladino was co-chair of Donald Trump's New York presidential campaign. Although "unfortunate," the defense argues those comments are protected by free speech.

On a related note, a small band of protestors arrived at the State Education Department Building at 11:30 a.m. They found barricades blocking the entrance steps. They chanted "Can Carl Now."

Paladino took the stand just before noon. On the stand, he described his displeasure with the teachers' contract, but did not admit wrongdoing in discussing it after it was approved - similar to Quinn.

If testimony moves swiftly, as Elia has encouraged, the hearing will conclude Wednesday, with a decision to come later.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.
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