BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has decided to remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo School Board.
Frank Miller, an attorney for the school board, tells 7 Eyewitness News Elia made her ruling this morning.
The move comes after a five-day hearing in Albany this past spring. Fellow board members filed a petition requesting Paladino be removed following controversial comments he made about former President Obama and the First Lady.
Paladino said repeatedly he would not resign.
The official petition from the Buffalo School Board requesting Paladino's removal cited his public disclosure of information shared in executive session. Paladino never denied revealing that information, related to contract negotiations with the Buffalo Teachers Federation, but said he did so in the public's interest.
Throughout the hearings, Paladino's attorney Dennis Vacco argued the true reasoning for removal was based on those comments published in Artvoice and as such, the petition should have been denied on free speech grounds.
Commissioner Elia handed down her decision Thursday. She determined Paladino willfully violated state law in disclosing information about those contract negotiations. Here is a portion of her decision:
"The record demonstrates that respondent disclosed confidential information regarding collective negotiations under the Taylor Law which he gained in the course of his participation as a board member in executive session, and that his disclosures constituted a wilful violation of law warranting his removal from office pursuant to Education Law §§306 and 2559."
Attorneys for Paladino said they plan to appeal the ruling.
A spokesperson for Buffalo Public Schools says the district needs to fill Paladino's vacancy in the next thirty days. Residents of the Park District can apply for the opening and a replacement will be voted on by the remaining board members. A simple majority is needed to confirm the new member.