By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — School Reform Commission member Bill Green now says he’s suing Governor Wolf in an attempt to win back his position as chairman.
Shortly after taking office, Governor Wolf replaced Bill Green as chair of the School Reform Commission with Marjorie Neff.
Green in March 2015 said while he believed the move was illegal, he wasn’t going to sue because it would be a distraction to gaining school funding.
That was then. Now, Green says he’s filing suit in Commonwealth Court.
“Essentially, I don’t believe at this point that it’s going to be a distraction. The battle lines are fairly hardly drawn in Harrisburg.”
Green is being represented by the Harrisburg-based Fairness Center, a firm that represents those harmed by public sector unions, says president David Osborne.
“The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and AFT – parent union – gave Governor Wolf $800,000 as he was running for office.”
But PFT VP Arlene Kempin wondered,”How has be been harmed by our union? He’s the one that cancelled our contract.”
In a statement today, Wolf spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan said, “Governor Wolf used his authority, as provided by statute, to appoint the chair of the School Reform Commission and to bring new leadership to the school district, which has been devastated by education cuts.”
Green says he still believes he legally holds the position of SRC chair.
“I have always maintained I’m chair, in public statements, with my fellow Commissioners, etc. And believe I’m chair today because as a matter of law the governor had no power to remove me.”
Neff, in a statement, said the issue will be decided in the courts and she expects the suit will have no impact on the day-to-day operations of the SRC.
“The legislation’s pretty clear that I’m to appoint a chair, which I did about a year ago. So I haven’t seen the suit. I’m not sure why he’s doing this,” said Governor Wolf, speaking after an event in King of Prussia on Tuesday.
Wolf says he believes he had the legal authority to replace Green as SRC chair.