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NYC May Face Lawsuit Over Schools Chancellor Carranza's Reorganization Of Department Of Education

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has vowed to vigorously defend himself against charges his reorganization of the city's educational bureaucracy was based on race, creating an environment hostile to whites.

He can play guitar with the best of 'em, but Carranza's sweeping rearrangement of the deck chairs at the Department of Education is apparently hitting a sour note with some who found themselves without a seat when the music stopped.

Sources told CBS2's Marcia Kramer that at least four top DOE executives are working with lawyer Davida Perry, a specialist in employment discrimination, to sue the city. They claim Carranza created an environment hostile to whites. The four were reportedly demoted or stripped of duties.

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When asked how he will respond if there's a suit filed charging him with discrimination, Carranza said, "We're going to defend it vigorously. There's nothing there. We're going to be able to show we hired the best people for the job through a process that was fair to everyone."

Kramer then asked if race was taken into consideration.

"Qualifications are taken into consideration," Carranza responded.

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Since becoming schools chancellor, Carranza has revamped the bureaucracy at Tweed -- DOE headquarters. Among other things, he created a new layer of nine executive superintendents with a $2.5 million price tag.

According to published reports, more than a dozen top dogs -- superintendents and deputies who served under former chancellor Carmen Farina -- were demoted or forced to retire.

Councilman Eric Ulrich said the charges raise serious questions.

"I think it's reverse discrimination," Ulrich said.

The councilman claims it's also the chancellor aiding and abetting Mayor Bill de Blasio's presidential aspirations, so he can cast himself as the champion of diversity.

"I absolutely think it's racial politics," Ulrich said.

David Bloomfield, an education professor at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Grad Center, said Carranza shouldn't just dismiss the allegations.

"The chancellor's job is to be the CEO of his organization," Bloomfield said. "He has to take all of these complaints very seriously. It's now a matter of public interest and public scandal and he needs to reassure the public that merit is the only basis for appointment."

Kramer asked the chancellor about Councilman Ulrich's charge that this is racial politics. He said quite simply, "This is about kid politics."

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