BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - He's one of the most outspoken critics of Buffalo Public Schools. Now, developer Carl Paladino is taking the district to court.
Paladino is once again taking aim at the Buffalo Board of Education. A judge will now hear his criticism of how the school board went about selecting Dr. Pamela Brown as the new superintendent.
He's suing and asking the Supreme Court to terminate Superintendent-designate Dr. Brown's "transitional" contract. The school board is paying Dr. Brown an $800 consulting fee - plus travel and expenses - for every day she spends working in Buffalo, until she signs a long-term contract.
"What's going on? Doesn't she want the job? What are we doing on a "transitional" contract? What are they negotiating? The public's entitled to know," Paladino argued.
>> Paladino filed his lawsuit the same day News 4 learned that Debbie Buckley, who was fired by the board, is cooperating with an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office into how the district is using state and federal grant money.
His lawsuit further contends, the board's lack of transparency in selecting Dr. Brown is not only offensive, but illegal.
"They do everything in executive session," Paladino noted. "They have their discussions in executive session, or they have illegal meetings amongst themselves where they plan these things. My action will put them all on the stand for a hearing, and then we're going to find out what they've been doing."
News 4 reached out to every school board member Thursday. Only West District representative Ralph Hernandez would comment on Paladino's lawsuit. He told News 4, it has "no basis."
Paladino, however, is adamant that the board members are shirking their obligations to parents and city taxpayers, obligations "to disclose what they do and the reasons that they do it."
"The public is entitled to know the basis for giving this woman a contract," he said. "And the point that I'm making, in my papers, is that they have defied every element of the Open Meetings Law."
Hernandez says he believes Dr. Brown has been in Buffalo, collecting that $800-plus fee, "two or three days" so far. He expects she'll sign a long-term contract July 11.
Paladino ultimately wants a do-over on the superintendent search.
"With total transparency, they should bring the person in; they should vet the [candidates] in front of the public," he contended.
And he also wants a clean sweep of the boardroom.
Paladino urged, "Get rid of this school board, and we get a leadership into our system that is going to give these 33,000 good kids an opportunity and an alternative to the dysfunctional system."
Hernandez told News 4 Thursday night, the school board will have a formal response to Paladino's lawsuit on Friday. This case will be heard in court next week.
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