The second-ranking official in the state teachers union said there was “no break in protocol” in making a $10,000 donation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign.
In a statement Friday, Andrew Pallotta, executive vice president of the New York State United Teachers union, pushed back against an allegation from union president Richard Iannuzzi, who accused Pallotta of going over his head in purchasing a $10,000 table to Cuomo’s birthday fundraiser last month.
“There was no break in protocol, policy or existing practice in the purchasing of the tickets,” Pallotta said in a statement, which was posted on the website of a slate of candidates looking to unseat Iannuzzi. “Iannuzzi’s implication that I acted improperly is just electioneering.”
Pallotta said Iannuzzi made the decision on his own to attend the Cuomo fundraiser, which featured a performance by Billy Joel. The donation from NYSUT’s political action committee raised eyebrows, since it was the union’s first to Cuomo since 2009 and comes at a time where many teachers are dissatisfied with the state’s rollout of the Common Core standards.
Both Pallotta and Iannuzzi are looking to be re-elected to a new three-year term in April, but Pallotta is running on a ticket headed by Karen Magee, president of the Harrison Association of Teachers in Westchester County.
Meanwhile, NYSUT’s Board of Directors on Saturday approved a vote of “no confidence” in state Education Commissioner John King, calling for his removal by the state Board of Regents. King has been criticized by teachers for the state’s implementation of the Common Core, a set of more-stringent standards that are meant to help prepare students for college.
The Education Department’s “implementation plan in New York state has failed,” Iannuzzi said in a statement. “The commissioner has pursued policies that repeatedly ignore the voices of parents and educators who have identified problems and called on him to move more thoughtfully.”
The no confidence resolution will now be put to a vote of NYSUT’s 2,000 delegates in April.