City Council Welcomes New Members, Melanie Jackson And Jose Casco

Melanie Jackson
Melanie Jackson joins City Council.

By unanimous vote, the Bridgeport City Council Monday night filled two Democratic vacancies on the budget and legislative body, both relatively new faces in city politics, Jose Casco to fill the 136th District East Side seat of Ricky DeJesus and Melanie Jackson to replace the 138th Upper East Side vacancy of veteran member Richard Paoletto.

East Side Councilman Alfredo Castillo nominated Casco, a town committee member from the 136th District, who works for the State Department of Social Services. DeJesus, who lost his bid for State Senate in a special election last Tuesday, was in attendance as a spectator. He announced his resignation just prior to the special election after moving outside of the district. State Rep. Chris Rosario, also a town committee member, was in the audience in support of Casco.

Casco swearing in
Mayor Bill Finch swears in Jose Casco. At right, City Council President Tom McCarthy. Photo courtesy of Tim Hammill, Mayor’s Office.

138th District Councilman Mike Marella, uncle of Paoletto, nominated Melanie Jackson, saying “she’s an intelligent hardworking member of the district.”

Following the vote to join the council, about 50 Jackson supporters rose to serenade her in applause. A retail professional, Jackson was a top vote producer in the March 2014 Democratic Town Committee district primary in which insurgents gained control of the 138th District including City Librarian Scott Hughes who urged the council to support Jackson during the public speaking portion of the council meeting. Hughes, the district leader, told the council Jackson had the full support of the district town committee.

Melanie Jackson oath
Mayor Finch issues oath to Melanie Jackson. Photo courtesy Tim Hammill, Mayor’s Office.

The irrepressible Bridgeport supporter Steve Auerbach, a friend of Jackson, also told the council Jackson is a “positive force … a good person with integrity and honesty.”

In the days leading up to the vote Jackson had some competition from former City Councilwoman Leticia Colon who did not have her name placed into nomination. Paoletto resigned from the council and retired from his city job following a second claim of sexual harassment against him in five years. Auerbach also had praise for Paoletto’s service to the city.

Council vacancies are filled by a majority of the council incumbents from the same political party. Enrique Torres is the sole Republican on the 20-member body.

Following the vote City Council President Tom McCarthy announced “Welcome to the club.”



  1. Although I in no way support Excel Bridgeport’s Jose Casco, I do support Melanie Jackson. I would also like to commend Mayor Finch for treating Melanie with the respect she so richly deserved. He was quite gracious in welcoming Melanie. I would also like to commend Mike Marella who was very complimentary when he personally nominated Melanie. I sensed the majority of the City Council members were genuinely pleased to welcome Melanie into the fold. I feel confident they will not regret their support of her.

    I don’t know her very well, however the few times we have worked the polls together she has impressed me with her demeanor and intelligence.

    Someone asked me today is Melanie Jackson a “Trish Swain” or a “Maria Pereira.” I said “neither,” she is Melanie Jackson.

    Good luck, Melanie!

  2. Best wishes to Jose Casco and Melanie Jackson. Thank you both for wanting to serve your districts and the city. It was great seeing so many familiar faces last evening. I also wish Richard DeJesus the best of luck. He is definitely not done with politics. Just a bump in the road. Those being way too critical of him while singing Joseph Ganim’s praises baffle me beyond my ability to comprehend. I am certain DeJesus will be back!

    I made two bets last evening with Maria P. and Howard Gardner. I will not state the nature of the bet but will use this blog to acknowledge it in the event I lose. I will not be a happy camper!

    It was a pleasure chatting with all last evening. I appreciate your desire to listen to the people. You are an accomplished individual, now get out there and get your name out there. Of course as nice as it was to see Mayor Finch and my friend sworn in. The Irish Pub, Shebeen was as satisfying with my Gorgonzola burger, Calamari and Harp beer.

    Melanie Jackson, I expect great things and I am happy you have Mike Marella as a partner. Personally, I could care less about the gossip of whether or not he lives in the district. His heart and soul are there and he married Judy Hull. That is good enough for me!

  3. Council President Tom McCarthy told the two new council people welcome to the club. I did not know it was a club. I thought it was a group of people elected by their neighbors and other residents of their districts to protect the citizens of Bridgeport by participating in good government. Now I know that’s an idealistic way of looking at things. I don’t know the gentlemen from the 136th so I will not comment on him. I do know Melanie Jackson and she is an outstanding choice to represent us in the 138th.
    Back to being a member of the club, does that mean you can now spend more than the $9K allotted for council expenses? Does it mean you can do you grocery shopping at Stop&Shop for over a year and charge the groceries to the city? Does it mean you can charge your cable bill to your debit card? Does it mean you can give illegal donations to charities without fear of retribution? Does being a new member in the club mean you go into the backroom at city hall and have your brains removed so you can always vote the Finch/McCarthy way? I know that won’t happen to Melanie Jackson.

    1. I am thrilled for Melanie Jackson and even more so for the rest of us. We are gaining a bright and thoughtful council member and I’m looking forward to her energy elevating discussion and committee work.

      1. Actually, since Finch became Mayor in 2007, McCarthy’s salary as listed in budgets has gone from $65,000 to nearly $115,000. He must be doing a terrific job.

        1. Thanks Tom, I could not find those later years so what this means is McCarthy’s salary in seven years has gone up $50,000 in seven years or better than 65 percent, not bad. To all the silent readers of OIB, how have your pay raises gone over the last seven years?


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