Ed Takeover Opponents Schedule Rally–Mayor Asks Business Community To Organize Counter Rally

Supporters of the Connecticut Supreme Court decision ordering a special election for four school board seats are organizing a rally for Wednesday in Hartford, among them elected Board of Education member Maria Pereira who’s opposed to state control of schools. When word reached Mayor Bill Finch that a rally was in the works he spread word to the business community about organizing a counter rally by supporters of state control of schools. Many business leaders including Paul Timpanelli, president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, support a state-appointed school board.

Last week the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered a special election for four school board positions ruling the state failed to provide the necessary training on behalf of the elected school board members who threw in the towel and asked for state intervention. Legislative leaders and government operatives on behalf of Governor Dannel Malloy have been examining a legislative fix that would cure, they say, a technical ruling by the Supremes, eliminating the need for a special election and keeping schools under state rule. Flyer promoting the rally:


Wednesday, March 7, 2012



Tell your State Legislator VOTING is a Civil Right! We live in a Democracy! 210 Capital Avenue, Hartford, CT 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Free transportation provided:

Bus Leaves Baker & Isaac Funeral Home 987 Stratford Avenue, Bridgeport 9:30 a.m. (sharp)

Jeff Kohut, a petitioning candidate for mayor in 2011, says he will attend the rally. He sent out an eblast urging attendance. Says Kohut:

“There is a nefarious process to usurp the rights of Bridgeport residents/voters to self-determination which is currently being expressed in a Fairfield County Gold Coast-power broker effort to secure control of the Bridgeport public education system and thereby the future options and prosperity of our children and our city … This is being accomplished through the use of surrogates that have been placed in positions of political authority and influence by said Gold Coast power brokers–namely Governor Dannel Malloy and Mayor Bill Finch …

If Bridgeport is to ever again move forward and secure its rightful place of prosperity and leadership in Fairfield County (the 4th Congressional District), we must shake off the negative influences that would keep us a beggar-servant to the affluent towns of Fairfield County/4th Congressional District …

Come to the rally on WEDNESDAY, March 7! Let the General Assembly and the power-brokers of Fairfield County know that Bridgeport is no longer ripe for exploitation by the moneyed influences that would keep us broke, helpless, and under the control of the Stamford-Norwalk-Greenwich business/political axis that would continue to get a free ride off of Bridgeport’s labor and infrastructure through the control of state and Bridgeport politicians and institutions (e.g., our public-school system …)”

For his part Mayor Bill Finch is telling supporters of state control to contact the city’s eight-member legislative delegation urging them to push for a legislative fix. The delegation appears split on the direction it should take. He also inquired with the business community if a counter rally could be organized.

State Senator Ed Gomes says the city’s Hartford delegation is divided on a state legislative fix. Gomes is opposed to the state takeover of schools, especially the way elected school board members voted to dissolve the board last July. He says legislative leadership in Hartford  is not likely to push the issue of a legislative fix without a united consensus from the delegation.



  1. Paul “Flush” Timpanelli is a bona fide piece of shit. He has never done a damn thing for Bridgeport except occupy an office in an office building. The business community has done next to nothing to help the school children of Bridgeport. I do not want a bunch of business owners from outside of Bridgeport to tell us how to run the schools.
    This whole fight is bullshit pure and simple. It really is not about the kids and improving their educational programs. IT’S ABOUT MONEY PURE AND SIMPLE. FINCH WANTS CONTROL OVER THE $200-PLUS MILLION SCHOOL BUDGET.
    Finch and company have hidden millions of taxpayer dollars in this budget all with the aid of the council. Giving these dumb asses control of the school system would be catastrophic.
    BTW why did the BOE buy a new LARGE dump truck for the BOE? What the hell are they going to do with it?

  2. Please see this exchange of emails between the Mayor and Paul Timpanelli. I live in Bridgeport, vote in Bridgeport and sometimes wear a suit. I always thought Bill was against guns. He must be talking about Love Potion #9! This is now public record as it contains correspondence between the mayor.

    Call your legislators and Council People! Timpanelli needs to resign!!!

    From: Paul Timpanelli
    Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2012 21:34:28
    To: Finch, Bill
    Subject: Re: The governor and Bridgeport

    Sent from my iPhone

    On Mar 2, 2012, at 6:53 PM, “Finch, Bill” wrote:

    > Keep the faith, pass the ammunition and call the Reps and Senators! Also, can we get a potion drive going or hold a counter rally early next week?
    > Bill Finch
    > On Mar 2, 2012, at 10:13 AM, “Paul S. Timpanelli” <timpanelli@brbc.org>
    > Thanks Dick, my sentiments clearly.
    > We must coalesce around this and not revert back to the flame throwing, misguided, non-directed, clearly dysfunctional Board of the past. We at last can see some light at the end of the tunnel. I spent most of Wednesday with the Mayor at the Capitol and there is a depth of support for what Bridgeport is attempting to do. Let’s not lose that momentum with yet another political circus. We must get behind and support his effort. He wants nothing but the best for his kids and Bridgeport’s kids. This should not be about elections and should be about giving kids the best opportunities.
    > I vividly recall Maria – bless her heart – spending literally weeks of her own volunteer time researching credit card and expense records of the school system and proud to discover that someone(s) had misspent $4.92, or some such number.
    > I’m on my way to meet, yet again, with Paul Vallas this morning. He’s created more positive movement in months than was created during the length of term of each school board member that now wants to return. We’re finalizing the creation of a Business Budget Advisory Committee and we’re working on support we’ll generate for a new school based budgeting system, and a full high school work study partnership. This is great stuff! Some members of the previous Board would have thrown me out because I don’t live in Bridgeport and I most often wear a suit.
    > Keep the faith.
    > From: DickFerguson2000@aol.com
    > Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 9:51 AM
    > To: rfrancis_99@yahoo.com; aboas@carlmarks.com;
    > Subject: Re: The governor and Bridgeport
    > Good for Malloy and his direct and honest answers to Maria. Finally someone who has the backbone and guts to tell the truth … and to also try and build consensus among reasonable people. For those of us truly interested in better schools in Bridgeport, we really need to get behind him and support his efforts.
    > Let’s hope he can muster the votes to remove the technicality that the court focused on and continue the excellent work of the new Board and Paul Vallas.
    > It’s about putting kids first, not about adults.
    > Thanks for sending Bob.

    1. Sue,
      Again I’ll ask you why you think putting these teachers back in a classroom is a bad thing.
      Would you prefer your child to be in a class that was being covered by a sub or in many cases several subs who were not certified teachers or being taught by Patti, Marge or Magda?

      I certainly would choose one of the three early-childhood specialists who came to the position because they demonstrated they were master teachers.
      I just don’t understand why everyone is so upset highly qualified people are being sent back to a classroom to do what they do best … TEACH!

      I took over a classroom earlier this year after being a curriculum specialist for 15 years. Are you saying it was in the best interest of the students in my classroom to have a sub all year? Or do you think having a certified teacher with 28 year’s experience just might have benefited these children?

      I’d like to think I am making a difference and providing them with a better education than any non-certified sub.

      1. It depends on the teacher. I’ve seen long-term subs handle out-of-control classes like pros, and I’ve seen certified teachers get eaten alive. Some knew what they were doing, and some didn’t.

        I consider myself very good dealing with the grade levels I’m familiar with. Put me in a pre-k class and the li’l cuties will probably get nap-time and finger painting all day–I’m just not trained or familiar with that grade level. So why are we placing mentor teachers familiar with a certain skill set in situations they have to learn about overnight? Is that kid-friendly?

  3. *** Now that Finch doesn’t need the voters, he’s advocating the BRBC, etc. (who mostly don’t live in Bpt or have kids in the public school system) vs city voters who are pro-education and merely want things done the right way for the right reasons, no? Is it us (city gov) against the (residents) type of warfare once again? *** Hot Potato! ***

  4. Let’s take the tension down a notch please and increase the respect factor. The business community needs employees who are educated and have the skills to fill their jobs. The parents need their children educated so they can succeed in the business world. Those two goals have more in common than not. We need to find common ground here with respect for both voting rights and accountability. The prior Board of Ed’s elected Democrats threw in the towel; they gave up in a series of backroom meetings. The Democratic Town Committee failed in nominating strong effective candidates to run for elective office. In my opinion, the performance of the elected Board of Education members in total did not serve the children well. Somehow through all of this the Business Community and the parents need to find common ground rather than conduct dueling protests.

    The legislative fix is not the right way to solve this problem. There needs to be a special election as per the Supreme Court ruling as well as a charter revision on the November Ballot that provides for a blended board like Hartford has.

    1. This is the same business community led by Paul that gave Ganim a standing ovation while under indictment. This is the same BRBC that had been joined at the hip with Ramos. Timpanelli used to mimic Finch on his poor work ethic at BRBC.

      Is it because we have failing schools, Steal Point has languished for almost 15 years at an acquisition price of close to 25 million dollars? Or is it because we have a lackluster BRBC, Economic Development Director coupled with a high mil rate?

      I agree with Fergie that it should be about the kids. Let’s start with a teachable moment called a Civics Lesson on the Rule of Law and our three branches of government and the Constitution. Our kids have been getting dicked for years, that equates to a cervix lesson.

      Ferguson is a good guy who made a lot of money in Bridgeport and gives back through his Charter School efforts.
      We need a dialogue and not a monologue with Finch and Timpanelli in Stereo!

  5. Lennie,
    Please post how to reach our Bridgeport delegation: email, phone, mail. Another civics lesson.

    Phil–I support a blended board because the DTC needed challenges in at least six districts with slates of non-conflicted candidates before I would have confidence in the caliber of those who are endorsed to run. Unfortunately tomorrow only two districts are being challenged and I hope they will be successful. Therefore a combination of appointed and elected BOE members gives the kids a shot at a board that has strong competent leaders.

  6. I never missed a BOE meeting and fair is fair.

    Ms. Pereira researched cell phone bills and found an outrageous amount of personal calls totaling in the tens of thousands.

  7. I’m in the cloud on this issue. I support a state-appointed school board for one very simple reason. The extremely stupid people of Bridgeport vote as they are told by Paul Timpanelli and Mario Testa. Those who are outraged at the state taking away the right to vote should be polled to see whom of them actually got off their ignorant asses and went to the polls … EVER.

    Besides. In reality, we VOTED for these dummies who tossed in the towel and told Malloy they were too stupid and ill-equipped to function as a cohesive body administering policy and procedures for the betterment of our school children. Why would we allow the ignorant voting public of this town to put the same type of people into office again?

    In Windham County the school board was replaced by state appointees who are well experienced in BOE issues and have made a difference in the few short months they have been at it. Costs are way down leaving more revenue assets for classroom spending instead of for distribution to the local political machine. Classroom achievement has increased and the 16-year-old dropout rate is slowing. Except for the kids who just stop going without notifying the BOE they intend to drop, those who are considering it are given every opportunity to remediate and catch up. Most of the reasons a salvageable student considering dropping out quits is the feeling they are too far behind and they are overwhelmed. Better to quit than to figure out how to get back on track. Right now, in Windham, those who are teetering are identified long before they drop out and are given extraordinary assistance. These are programs implemented by state people who are motivated to make the failed Windham system improve and they are succeeding. These people are not political hacks carefully placed to ensure the political machine is positioned to benefit from very costly vendor contracts.

    Let the state pick out the right people. It’s working in Windham. If Finch, Timpanelli or Don Calamari get anywhere near that process, we all should march on Madison Avenue with buckets of tar and bags of feathers.

    1. The Town Committee nominates those who run for elected office. The Town Committee is full of people who work for the city or board of ed or their immediate families work for the city or board of ed; or they are elected to the council or sit on boards and commissions. So we have this bunch nominate ‘themselves’ or relatives of themselves to run for elected office. They don’t think it is a conflict. They think they can wear multiple hats and keep their actions pure. Nuts to that. It’s impossible. The DTC’s conflicted membership is the root cause. That is where the root canal needs to happen. Tomorrow two districts are trying to clean up their nine-member slate. I am disappointed some of the other districts that are seriously conflicted didn’t put up a challenge slate but it is what it is. Tomorrow is the election. At least clean up the 131st and 137th districts. Then maybe, just maybe there will be a coalition of the brave who will find the best of the best to run for elected office. The root cause of the reason we have who we have in elected positions is the bulk of the DTC membership. Yes there is voter apathy but first things first. Fix the body that makes the endorsements and nominations.

      New Haven has an all-appointed board of ed. But that mayor has been in office for a long time. When he leaves, the entire board of ed is replaced by appointments of the new Mayor. Bridgeport does not have Mayors with longevity, at least ethical longevity. An all-appointed board is not the answer because it will change with each Mayoral election. An all-elected board has proven it isn’t the answer; ergo a blended board is the fix that will give the kids the best shot at a future. I admire what the State Appointed Board has done so far and I hope some of the Bridgeport residents on that board vie for the DTC nomination but the process that was used stripped the voting rights of the Bridgeport residents. It was illegal, plain and simple. A legislative fix will be challenged in court. Therefore I support a special election now and a charter change in November for a blended board to take effect in 2013.

    2. Yahooy–It was not Windham County but the municipality of Windham. The State did not come in and reconstitute the existing Board of Education. They named the Special Master to work in concert with the existing super and sitting elected board. This solution would have been the ideal scenario for Bridgeport.

      1. Absolutely correct. It is indeed Windham Township. Whatever the configuration the remediation is working with little or no resistance from the locals. Attendance is up. Teacher absence is lower. Achievement is up and is measured in other than ‘mastery testing.’ State control is working there. I agree the Windham model would be an ideal solution for Bridgeport. Oh. One more thing. They have just commenced an operational audit of the purchasing practices of the local BOE. An operational audit could lead to a forensic audit if irregularities are identified in the operational review.

        You may recall Russo got $250,000 out of the state to do an audit of the Bridgeport BOE. All of that money went to PAUL TIMPANELLI. What happened? What are the results of the suit, Paul? How did you spend that money? On what?

        Let’s keep this son of a bitch in the BOE loop. He has done an amazing job thus far. Or maybe we should vote Testa out of office once and for all and maybe, just maybe, we can kick Timpanelli in the ass all the way back to Trumbull.

  8. Two points:
    One–If anyone believes Maria got all the credit card records that would have truly reflected the spending abuses that were going on within the BOE, revise your thinking. You could add several zeros to the $4.92 Timpanelli gloats over in his email above, and have a more accurate figure.
    Two–no system of picking and choosing BOE members for Bridgeport’s school system will work successfully WITH THE CURRENT Finch/Wood administration in place. But of the options, the most dangerous and damaging system for the students in this City would be the one that opens the door for the Finch/Wood administration to hand-pick their own choices for BOE membership.

    A better option to consider would be to change the City charter wording so any candidate running for the BOE would come with specific education-related credentialing, which then would be to the benefit of students in this City.
    The current administration of Bill Finch and Adam Wood have the potential of creating irreparable fiscal damage to the City and systemic levels of education damage to every aspect of Bridgeport’s Board of Education system … if they are given the opportunity to manipulate changes in the City Charter, which would give the Mayor power to appoint BOE members.
    So a trip up to Hartford is critical, along with every possible call and email to the Bridgeport’s State legislative delegation. Remind them they all come up for election this year as you present your case to respect the Supreme Court’s decision.

  9. I hate to do this. I favor democracy as much as the next person, and having served 6 years on the BOE, two years as VP I can tell you this appointed way is the only thing that will work. I was there to see politics and race play the most important parts of BOE conversations, trust me you don’t want to go back to the old ways. Jim Carbone

    1. jamesacarbone,
      If the BOE becomes 100% appointed, the entire membership will change with each new mayor. I do not think that is good for the children. For the sake of continuity I recommend four of the nine should be elected for four-year terms that start in the middle of the Mayor’s term. A quorum to do business should be six so they must have an elected member present to conduct business. The first six months will need a trained facilitator to help the board learn to listen and conduct business under Robert’s Rules. There is a middle ground here in my opinion. The retroactive legislative fix to eliminate the training requirement prior to a state takeover is just plain wrong. The special election is the way to go. The DTC will have to endorse candidates to run on the Democratic Ticket. That is problematic depending on what happens with the DTC elections tomorrow in the 131st and 137th.

  10. jamesacarbone, having served 6 years on the BOE, two years as VP can you tell us about the politics and how race played the most important parts of BOE conversations, Mr. Carbone?

      1. yahooy, what is your point? Mr. Carbone made a statement and I asked him to give some information about HIS statement. yahooy, I see you are not interested in what Mr. Carbone said and that’s okay but I would like to hear what Mr. Carbone has to say.

  11. Ron Mackey wrote: No one has yet to explain how three BOE members could stop anything Mayor Finch, Paul Timpanelli and Mario Testa wanted passed by the BOE. These three BOE members who could not block anything caused Mayor Finch to take the voting rights of voters of Bridgeport to vote for whom they thought was best for them.

    I have not read anywhere or seen it suggested the three could stop anything, so I see your point there.
    In my opinion–the majority 6 got tired of the whole thing. Some would say they did not like being questioned, etc. But it’s obvious with this BOE that almost every issue was a prolonged fight. Eventually that would wear on you. Could the 6 have just given up and been replaced some other way? I don’t know if there is a process for that. And judging from the meetings–it does not seem like they respected each other enough to effectively use Roberts Rules of Order. Honestly–we may never know the full details as to why this group could not work together.
    In regards to the phone issue–I remember the Post’s coverage on that–the dollars were small and in fact, the bill was being paid for by a grant ($35K) so I see CT Taxpayer’s point on that. That energy could have been focused on other, more critical areas.

    Ron–The question of why they would give up may never be answered–so it’s time to move forward and look toward the future.
    All of that is over now–bottom line is this–and others have said it–the residents of Bridgeport need to take this matter into their own hands-take the time to question the candidates, learn about them and why they are qualified to be in the board. I’d even scrutinize the returning members since all (“minority” three included) were part of this whole situation.
    Don’t go by what your party chairman says, or by who you know or what name you recognize when you go in the booth. Have them explain their plans for your children. Then, after the board is elected–stay on top of them by going to the meetings and making sure they are doing the work you elected them to do for you and your children.

    1. Lifelong Bpt, I agree with you but remember the BOE is a reflection of the same bad management, bad manners and bad selections of the City of Bridgeport as a whole for as long as I can remember.

    2. “all that is over now”
      Are you kidding? If financial details were not available to the BOE in a form, and detail and on a regular basis, the few had a right to raise questions.
      “the bill was being paid for with a grant”
      Lifelong Bpt, whether the money comes from a grant or the State or Bridgeport property tax there is a problem if there is waste. I don’t remember the details of Maria’s pursuit as well as some of you, but do you know how much in total was purchased through the BOE GRANT Line last year???
      Do you know anybody who does??? Well look it up, if you care to, if you can find it … of course the June monthly report that would have the total is not available to you … but wait a minute there is no expense line item titled BOE Grant … so where are you going to look??? Problem? Frustrated? Angry if I tell you the total in that line at the end of June was over $19 Million what would you say?
      And then if I tell you the BOE Grants caption does not appear in our City budget, though it gets spent for education, but how would the BOE know if they don’t get a report. Well the CAFR reports under Note 2 SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS “The City does not have legally adopted annual budgets for its special revenue funds. Budgets for the various special revenue funds which are utilized to account for specific grant programs are established in accordance with the requirements of the grantor agencies. Such budgets are non-lapsing and may comprise more than one fiscal year.”
      Well that’s clear isn’t it? So what info is coughed up to the watchdog and to the public??? Who maintains oversight??? Is it any wonder that with no holistic and comprehensive reporting system, watchdogs are alert, corruption is often alleged, and few if any can look at the whole scheme, annually and from year to year, the buildings, the people holding down positions and the purchases and say, “We did well, for the students and the taxpayer!!!”
      Time will tell.


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