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More than a dozen applicants seek Paladino's former school board seat

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

At least 14 people are expressing interest in a vacant seat on the Buffalo Board of Education. Reviews and interviews will begin next week, though at least one board member won't rule out the possibility of former Park District representative Carl Paladino's reinstatement.

Friday, September 1 is the deadline for candidates to submit their résumés to Buffalo Public Schools. As of late Thursday, 14 applications were turned in.

"I don't know how many I expected to apply but I'm pleasantly surprised," said school board president Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold. 

Board member Larry Quinn, meanwhile, told WBFO he's not as surprised by the volume of applications.

"It's an easy way to get into office without having to run," he said. "I imagine there's a lot of people, that have a political interest, that view this as an easy way to get in without having to actually face the electorate."

Quinn suggests politics were behind the removal of Carl Paladino from his Park District seat. Earlier this month, New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia ruled that Paladino wrongly disclosed confidential information about collective bargaining talks. 

Others feel Paladino was really being punished for remarks made about former President and First Lady Obama in a December issue of Artvoice. Quinn suggests there is in consistency in the disclosure of contract talks and how they're protected, pointing out that board members recently discussed details of an administrators' contract negotiation in the open.

"Then you kick a guy off for talking about it. It's a whole inconsistent siatuation," Quinn said. "I think if you're going to kick people off for disclosing information from executive committees, three months or four months after the fact, there are a lot of people who won't be holding office in New York State."

Quinn does not rule out the possibility of Paladino successfully gaining reinstatement. Nevergold and other board members, meanwhile, are proceeding as if they're choosing a permanent replacement. The school board president points out that they are currently within a 30-day window to fill the Park District seat. If they do not select a candidate, Buffalo mayor Byron Brown would then have the right to select someone. 

"We're operating in good faith, following the guidelines as required," Nevergold said. "We're going to do our part in this and then it will be up to someone else if we have not acted accordingly."

Interviews are expected to begin on September 6 and are likely to be held in executive session.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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