Once again Carl Paladino is trying to impose the appointment of a principal as the Superintendent of the Buffalo School System. In a resolution dated June 29th but submitted to the Board on July 2nd, Paladino calls for the appointment of Kevin Eberle, effective July 15th for a “minimum” of four years. I won’t comment on Mr. Eberle at this point, but the resolution was made public by Paladino and names him in the document, so I am not disclosing confidential information. The concern of the Minority Bloc is that this Resolution is another attempt to circumvent a process that:
- Includes all Board members in the decision making process
- Results in the appointment of a qualified applicant following a comprehensive and diligent search
- Is open and transparent, engaging community stakeholders and offering them an opportunity for input before the selection is made
- Provides a rationale for the appointment of a Superintendent that fully discloses and enumerates all the qualifications, competencies, relevant experiences and record of successful accomplishments of the proposed appointee
- Provides an example of the vision/plan that the appointee brings to this very complex job specifically with respect to several recent State mandates
Before getting to the crux of his resolution Paladino speaks to what he characterizes as the “dysfunction, chaos, lack of morale, corruption and incompetence of the BPS”. He also launches into invectives and accusations that “certain members of the Board” frustrated the search process and therefore other Board members were no longer obligated to continue the search process. The final paragraphs of the resolution state:
Whereas, the present shortlist of seven candidates includes people not familiar with New York State, Buffalo or the BPS, its qualities, problems nor staff as well as local candidates not prepared to implement the vision statement of the BOE majority and change required to correct the dysfunction; and
Whereas, only one candidate has the background and qualities necessary to immediately implement the necessary change required to correct the dysfunction in an expeditious, intelligent, informed and diligent manner to give the children of the BPS hope and an immediate opportunity for a good education
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the BOE appoints Kevin Eberle as Permanent Superintendent of the BPS effective as of July 15 2015, for a minimum four year term, subject to other material terms to be negotiated by the Finance Chair and General Counsel of the BOE.
It should also be noted that Mr. Eberle and two other internal candidates were interviewed by Board members on June 30th in a meeting that Mr. Paladino did not attend. So it is obvious that he made a decision that was not informed by an interview process that included several other candidates. In fact, a clause in the Resolution dismissed all other candidates, who Paladino disqualified because none were “prepared to implement the vision statement of the BOE majority”. On this point, it appears obvious that Mr. Eberle would have had to pledge his intention to implement the vision under the watchful eye of Mr. Paladino and other majority Board members.
The Minority members of the Board of Education reject the Paladino resolution. We question its legitimacy and reject the assumed authority of one Board member to make a unilateral decision to appoint a Superintendent, even if the resolution has the support of 5 votes. In fact the Board’s Special Counsel, Karl Kristoff of the Hodgson Russ law firm responded to an inquiry from the minority members that Mr. Paladino’s resolution was not in order.
Mr. Paladino did not attend the July 8th Board of Education meeting. After an attempt to table his resolution by Mr. Quinn was defeated, Ms. Belton-Cottman moved and Dr. Nevergold seconded that this resolution be removed from the agenda all together. This motion passed with yes votes from Ms. Kapsiak, Dr. Harris-Tigg, Ms. Pierce, Mr. Quinn, Dr. Nevergold and Ms. Belton-Cottman. Mr. McCarthy was the only no vote. Mr. Sampson left the meeting early. Of course it remains to be seen if Mr. Paladino attempts to resubmit the resolution.