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Paladino hearing concludes with attorneys' closing remarks

The five-day hearing to determine whether Carl P. Paladino should be removed from his seat on the Buffalo School Board has now concluded after both attorneys finished giving their closing statements.

Both attorneys delivered those final remarks Wednesday morning.

Frank W. Miller, who is representing those board members seeking Paladino's removal said the disclosure of confidential information interferes with the board's ability to conduct business. He also argued that it is likely Paladino will continue to disclose confidential information in the future.

"The only appropriate remedy is the removal of Carl Paladino," Miller said.

Miller also consistently referred to board policies for executive session, trying to drive home the point that Paladino violated them.

Former state attorney general Dennis Vacco reinforced his argument that the petition to remove Paladino is really about comments he made in Artvoice about President Obama and his wife - not any disclosure of confidential information, as the board majority claims.

He also argued that any information Paladino released was in the public interest, and that the information was already in the public domain.

"Carl's disclosures, whatever they referred to, were made in the public interest," Vacco said. "All the alleged disclosures from that meeting were already in the public space."

Throughout the hearing, Vacco also argued that the board members seeking Paladino's removal are guilty of some of the same things they accuse Paladino of, namely violating the laws regarding executive sessions by participating in illegal meetings.

"These petitioners do not come to this hearing with clean hands," Vacco said.

Attorney Frank W. Miller, representing the board members seeking Paladino's removal, will deliver his closing remarks after Vacco.

But don't expect a decision to on whether to remove Paladino to come today – or even this week.

Despite a five-day hearing on whether to remove the two-term Park District board member for publicly disclosing private information discussed in executive session, there will be a little lag time before State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia rules whether Paladino stays or goes, officials from the State Education Department indicated.

Elia will still allow attorneys to submit any final legal papers after the hearing ends, and should agree on a date those documents are due before issuing a written decision sometime after that, according to department spokesmen.

There was no indication whether that would be days or weeks away, but a decision wouldn't be this week, they indicated.



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