BUFFALO, NY - Legal experts say the process Buffalo Board of Education members intend to pursue, to remove Carl Paladino, could be a lengthy one.
Paladino, two weeks ago, made comments in Artvoice saying that he wishes President Obama "catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford." And that First Lady Michelle Obama "return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla."
After being criticized for the racist comments, Paladino apologized in a statement. But, the school board still voted 6-2 to requesting Paladino resign he has refused to do so.
2 On Your Side spoke to school board member Theresa Harris Tigg by phone.
"We're hoping to get resolution on this particular behavior, ongoing behavior and racist comments," she said.
So, the district will look to hire an attorney outside the district -- staying away from conflict of interest issues -- who will help the board fill out what's called an application for removal, which will be sent directly to state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia, to consider whether Paladino should be removed.
"My understanding is that it is a certainty an application will be filed," Harris Tigg said.
Frank Housh is an education law attorney, he said: "this is what will have to be answered appropriately in the petition is how did Mr. Paladino willfully conduct misconduct by making these remarks.
School board members have said Paladino violated the Dignity for All Students Act, which seeks to provide students an "environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting and harassment [...]"
"The commissioner, I believe has discretion to determine for herself what is misconduct in the context of these particular comments," Housh said.
This is what the commissioner said Tuesday, if an application is filed: "I think we need to look through this process and make sure we follow the process carefully."
Legal experts say it would not be easy to remove Paladino, the board would need to go beyond Paladino's First Amendment rights and prove that he broke a law or legal requirement. The board, assuming they go along with an application for removal, has by January 23 to get all the paperwork to the state.