The usual cast of players who take center stage each month at Buffalo School Board meetings will be summoned to Albany to testify at the hearing to remove Carl P. Paladino, including all nine board members.
Two Paladino allies on the board – At-Large Board Members Larry Quinn and Patricia Pierce – were the only two who didn’t vote for his removal. They are expected to provide key testimony for his defense.
Following are five of the main figures:
• Paladino. Outspoken and unpredictable, the former gubernatorial candidate and two-term School Board member is the central character in this drama. On June 14 he filed a federal lawsuit against six of his fellow board members for trying to oust him.
• Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold. A member of the School Board since 2012, she has been one of Paladino’s main adversaries, even before she took over as president last year. This isn’t the first time she’s called for his removal.
• Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. The state’s top educator for the past two years will preside over the hearing and ultimately rule on whether Paladino stays or goes.
Elia – who started her career as a social studies teacher at Sweet Home High School – has been feeling the public pressure to remove Paladino. Paladino protesters rallied in Albany last month and greeted her again during a recent visit to West Seneca.
Some of her bosses on the state Board of Regents also have publicly condemned Paladino’s statements. A majority of members on the Board of Regents also tend to support the state teachers union, which is one of the groups seeking Paladino’s removal.
• Dennis C. Vacco, the attorney representing Paladino. The former state attorney general is a partner in the Buffalo law firm of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman and now focuses much of his practice on government investigations.
• Frank W. Miller, the attorney representing the School Board. The board wanted an attorney from outside the Buffalo community to avoid any potential conflicts of interest and retained Miller, who is from the Syracuse area. He has more than 35 years of experience in labor and education law and is familiar with the removal process.