Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - The Buffalo School Board voted Don Ogilvie as new Interim Superintendent.
However, like most things in the district, the appointment was not without contention.
"You're starting off with a minus," Board member Barbara Seals-Nevergold told Ogilvie before the vote. Nevergold, Sharon Belton-Cottman, Theresa Harris-Tigg, and Mary Ruth Kapsiak make up the Board's minority, all four women complained that their voice was not heard in the process of selecting Ogilvie.
"You feel that because you have made some connections, and certain people have been bought inside of our community, that it's OK to disrespect the women of this board... The four women that I'm talking about," Cottman said.
The four board members all abstained from voting for or against Ogilvie.
"One of the first things that I need to do is to bring the temperature down," Ogilvie said after being sworn in. "I understand and I have empathy for anybody that feels that they haven't been part of the process."
The meeting was expected to begin behind closed doors in executive session, but Board member Larry Quinn suggested there was no reason to not debate the matter in public. The board debated for over two hours before voting on the Interim Superintendent.
"There's a lot on me to prove," Ogilvie said. "The Board-Superintendent relationship sets the tone for the entire district."
Ogilvie will serve as the Interim Superintendent for an undetermined amount of time, though it is anticipated he will hold his office for one to two years. His contract calls for him to make $217,000, and either the board or Ogilvie can terminate the contract at any time with 30 days notice.
There were quite a few moments of contention during the two hour debate.
"This is the best guy out there... No reason not to accept him today," argued Park District Member Carl Paladino.
Cottman called the lengthy debate a "waste of time" because it was known that the five votes needed to appoint Ogilvie were secured. She went as far as saying that the four women should hire their own lawyer to represent their interests. Fellow board member Jason McCarthy said claimed he was not allowed input in selecting Pamela Brown. Cottman retorted, "You didn't ask questions because you didn't know what to ask."