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Another grants employee suspended? District won't say

Several City Hall sources tell me that Debbie Buckley is not the only employee in the district's grants department who was suspended recently.

They say a grants coordinator was suspended, too -- not long after Buckley was escorted out of City Hall.

Eileen Fleming, who is the acting executive director for human resources, ignored my inquiries for a few days. And then on Wednesday, I finally got a response: "The District does not comment on personnel matters."

Well, that's interesting.

First off, School Board President Lou Petrucci himself provided me two weeks ago with information about Buckley's suspension. I had heard from City Hall sources that Buckley had been walked out of City Hall. When I asked Petrucci about it at an afternoon board meeting the next day, he handed me a prepared statement indicating she had been suspended.

Hmm...

So why is it the district comments on one employee's status, but not another's?

But really, the more important point to be made here is that the state's Committee on Open Government says the district cannot legally refuse to disclose information about the status of an employee. In an advisory opinion regarding whether information pertaining to the suspensions of public employees is public, COOG executive director Bob Freeman wrote:

With respect to records reflective of suspension of a public employee who is not a police or correction officer, such records must in our view be disclosed, in this instance.

Although a suspension in some situations might not reflect an agency's final determination of a matter, it would represent factual information that must be made available under §87(2)(g)(i).

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    mpasciak@buffnews.com

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | djgee@buffnews.com


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | tlankes@buffnews.com


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | stan@buffnews.com


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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