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New York Education Commissioner Orders Hearing in Carl Paladino Case

The New York state department of education will hold a hearing on June 22 on whether to remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo school board, the department said Tuesday.

The hearing is in response to a petition by the Buffalo school board, which asked Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to remove Paladino from the board on the grounds that he violated his oath of office by allegedly disclosing confidential information from one or more executive sessions. The school board argues that Paladino's disclosures are a willful violation of his duty as a board member.

According to the order for the upcoming hearing, Paladino argues that the information he is accused of disclosing was not subject to confidentiality, was a matter of public interest, or had already been made public by third parties. His actions, he said, were intended to prevent crime or fraud, according to the commissioner's order.

Paladino sparked outrage in December when he made racially-charged remarks about former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in a local publication, the Artvoice.

The school board initially voted 6-2 in December to give Paladino 24 hours to resign before members asked Elia to remove him. Paladino did not budge. 

Paladino has said that his comments about the Obamas in the Artvoice, while "unfortunate," were protected by the First Amendment. He vowed to fight efforts to remove him from the board. Amid calls for his ouster in January, he told Education Week that the board was targeting him for going after corruption in the district.

WKBW reported earlier this month that Paladino's attorney said he plans to sue the school board over efforts to remove him.

The state's hearing, which is open to the public, will take place in Albany, the state capital. 

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