In what will likely be the last day of the hearing to remove Carl P. Paladino from his seat on the Buffalo School Board, his ally Larry Quinn took the stand and testified that the disclosure of information about teacher contract negotiations was done in the public interest.
Quinn also noted that the Artvoice article in which Paladino revealed information given to board members in an executive session was published months after contract negotiations had concluded.
He also verified much of the information Paladino included in the article, including that Kriner Cash asked board members to authorize an additional $10 million to try and settle the deal.
Quinn also said it was evident district leaders were preparing for some kind of job action, possibly a strike or rolling strike.
But he did not necessarily think Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore explicitly threatened one, because a strike is illegal.
"Phil is smart enough to know not to call for a strike," Quinn said.
The teacher contract talks are central to the hearing because a majority of board members allege that Paladino violated board policy when he disclosed information given to them in executive session.
Paladino's legal team, however, argues that those board members want Paladino removed because of racially charged comments he made about President Barack Obama and his wife. They say that violates his constitutional right to free speech.
Quinn also testified that in his meeting with Frank W. Miller, the attorney hired to represent the board in the proceedings, it became clear Miller did not like the approach of trying to remove Paladino for the Artvoice comments.
Rather than seek his removal, Quinn thought the board should have given Paladino a chance to go to every school and apologize personally to students and staff.
"I felt that was a far better approach to what he had said," Quinn said. "The voters elect somebody. It's their prerogative, not ours."
Today's proceedings are expected to continue with testimony from Paladino and possibly closing arguments.
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is not expected to issue a ruling this week, but will do so shortly after the end of the hearing.