|Dr. Pamela Brown, Superintendent-elect, Buffalo Schools: Photo WBEN|
Carl P. Paladino, former GOP candidate for governor of New York has commenced an Article 78 legal proceeding in State Supreme Court trying to oust Dr. Pamela Brown from a superintendent post she's yet to officially occupy. Instead the board hired her as a consultant until the contract deal is completed.
Buffalo News story today reported:
Paladino is asking the court to rule Brown's hiring and the transitional agreement null and void. He also wants the court to declare the creation of the consultant's position null and void, as well as declare the board's actions to be in violation of the Open Meetings Law.Mr. Paladino may be correct in his allegations there should have been more transparency and compliance with the Open Meeting Law. But that is the problem not the appointment of Dr. Pamela Brown who is "properly qualified person to fill the position" of the superintendent of Buffalo Schools.
Nevertheless, under New York State Education Law, under the Powers and duties of board of education 2503 (5) appointing a superintendent and "creating positions...for the proper and efficient administration of its work" is one of the fundamental duties of a board of education.
Perhaps, that's why as the Buffalo News reported, "the clause that would prevent Brown from making any decisions as superintendent as as a consultant until next week's hearing was crossed out in the court papers, indicating State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Drury did not agree to that."
The courts can not take this power away from the school board, but insist in the future the board comply with the Open Meeting Law allow the pubic to be involved when they select a superintendent in the future not only at just one board meeting but transparency in the whole process from the selection of the consultants, interviewing the candidates to the appointment of a superintendent.
But where was Paladino on Saturday, January 18, when the Buffalo Board of Education held a public meeting in the Board room at 801 City Hall to allow the public an opportunity to be present when they selected a consultant for the superintendent search? Only three showed up and only one stayed by the time the interviews were concluded. Paladino was not in the audience.
Certainly, it does not stop the board from continuing with contract negotiations with Dr. Brown and that process should be completed before the court hearing.