From the Morning Memo:

A handful of organizations had promised to submit a formal petition to the state education commissioner asking her to remove Carl Paladino from his seat on the Buffalo Board of Education due to his pejorative comments about the outgoing president and his wife.

The New York State teachers union became the first to initiate that process.

Paladino confirmed last night that he had been served a petition – the first step in the application for removal. According to NYSED, he now has 20 days to provide a “verified answer.”

Following Paladino’s response, the complainant has another 10 days to reply before the commissioner makes a decision about whether there is enough evidence to move forward with a formal hearing on his potential removal as a Buffalo School Board member.

The five teachers who filed the petition with the support of NYSUT, claim Paladino’s actions and statements “negatively affect the ability of teachers to do their job in teaching students tolerance, kindness and self-respect” and also have interfered with students’ educations.

To recap: The Buffalo alternative newspaper Artvoice published derogatory comments by Paladino on Dec. 23.

In that interview, Paladino said, among other things, that he’d like President Obama to die of mad cow disease and First Lady Michelle Obama “to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

A number of other groups, including the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization, and the District Parent Coordinating Council, and the board of education have said they plan to appeal to NYSED too. The BOE passed a resolution last night – with Paladino present – for President Barbara Seals Nevergold to sign its petition.