School Board Places Jessica Martinez On Notice For Removal As Chair

File image of Chris Taylor, left, with school board members John Weldon and Jessica Martinez.

A majority of the Board of Education Monday night placed Jessica Martinez on written notice that they intend to remove her as chair on March 2, a move that board member Chris Taylor, who had supported her leadership position, says stems from substance abuse issues.

Taylor would not get into the details of the executive session that took place prior to the public vote but declared “I suspected she’s using drugs. I asked her to take a follicle test and offered to pay for it. She refused.”

A hair follicle test screens for illicit drug use analyzed for the prior 90 days while a urine screen simply identifies drugs the previous few days.

Martinez did not attend the public session that issued notice of intent to remove. John Weldon, Chris Taylor, Bobbi Brown, Sybil Allen, Joseph Lombard and Joe Sokolovic voted in favor to remove. Hernan Illingworth voted no.

CT Post reporter Linda Conner Lambeck tweeted: “7-1 to notify Jessica a vote to remove her as chair will be taken on March 2. Hernan voted no. Albert (Benejan) was given the chance to abstain but did not respond. It was recorded as a yes.”

Benejan has clarified in the OIB comments section that he supports keeping Martinez as chair.

In January OIB published a story that included an image of Martinez holding what appears to be a crack pipe. She declared it was not crack in the pipe but marijuana. She said the photo was taken by her “ex” Orlando Baez with whom she has had a volatile relationship that led to both of their arrests for domestic violence.

Julio Baez, brother of Orlando, wrote on his Facebook page that was included in the story: “Jessica is a violent individual when she doesn’t have her drugs of choice. When Miss Martinez doesn’t get her quick fix she gets hostile and extremely violent.”

Monday night Taylor, who’s facing his own issues, told OIB, “I asked her, ‘show me you’re clean.’ She could not so I told her she will lose her chairmanship.”

There is a history of toxicity between Martinez and Orlando Baez, in more ways than one including Martinez’s alleged substance abuse that she denies. She claims she’s a victim.

In a September 2018 Facebook post Martinez wrote “We need better leaders to step up who lead with integrity, whom our children and upcoming leaders could mirror.”

A month after that Facebook post Martinez was involved in a confrontation with Orlando Baez that led to her January 2019 arrest for felony assault and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. Orlando Baez is facing serious charges from the confrontation.

Last summer with State Senator Dennis Bradley providing her legal counsel, Martinez entered a guilty plea to reduced misdemeanor charges that also included violating the conditions of her prior release in a domestic violence case. Martinez’s plea also included agreeing to a 20-week domestic violence program. As a result of completing the program her record relating to those charges were cleared.

Still, questions have lingered about substance abuse history and her veracity to run meetings.

Former board chair John Weldon would not discuss details of the Monday night executive session, but confirmed that bylaws allow removal of an officer with minimum seven days written notice of intent to do so.

OIB reached out to Martinez for a comment Monday night. She did not respond.

Weldon added there’s no provision to remove an elected school board member, only bylaws to remove an officer, so Martinez will remain on the board if removed as chair. If that occurs the board will elect a replacement.



  1. Jimfox says:
    January 14, 2020 at 8:49 pm
    Crackheads and Felons are running this city!
    Our Kids have no heroes.

    Maria Pereira says:
    January 15, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Some people have the ability to take the most complicated issue(s) and boil it down into one easy to understand concise statement.

    There are over 300 comments on this OIB story on facebook and one person was able to cover several complex issues by posting the following:

    ” We have a convicted felon as our Mayor, an imposter as our Superintendent, and a Crack Head as our Chair of the Board of Education.”

    I don’t think there is a need to add anything else.


    1. Respecting the comments of Jim Fox and Maria Pereira (from January 20) to this subject but there is one other person whose silence is “profound” and terribly negative for all of the people of the City. I can find no comprehensive comment on what he does, why he exercises his power the way he does nor find the attraction of so many to this local celebrity.
      If his platform for citizens of Bridgeport is about service, equal opportunity and working for justice, why does he not say so? Because he doesn’t need to? Because his close followers exercise no public oversight on such even when elected as legislators, or appointed to employment where their service should be to those who pay the taxes? Go figure. Not open. Not accountable. No transparency and honesty open to question?
      Perhaps the cartoonist Walt Kelly of POGO fame, best expressed the appropriate sentiment in the classic comment: “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
      Is the silence of Mario working so well for you? Time will tell.

      1. I will not mince words. The City of Bridgeport has had a political boss for Twenty Years and his name is Mario Testa. Testa has delusions of being some type of political Don Corleone or Pope or Macchiavelli and walks around muttering to himself,”Rispetto, Rispetto.”. Would make a great Verdi Opera. However this is real. I have called this mental dynamic the “Testa Virus of Malgovernance.”. To those who are infected by this virus,the mindset become “What’s in it for me” and, again, with no regard or care for Bridgeport. The question is how or when will the People of Bridgeport find some political antibiotic to cure us of this sickness.

  2. Which is a biggest hindrance to a quality education for Bridgeport’s children, a lack of money from Mayor Ganim or dysfunctional school board member’s of crackheads and kidnappers? At what point are Mayor Ganim, the politicans or the parents of Bridgeport school children going to demand better? Maybe Black and Brown children don’t deserve better!

    1. Donald Day,
      Most respectfully,
      Every single child regardless of color of skin deserves better than this.
      Honest and dedicated professionals regardless of skin color deserve better than this.
      This situation is so bad that it transcends skin color.

      1. Frank, you are missing the point, the students of the BBOE are predominantly black and brown and they are already behind by just being black and brown plus the school budget is underfunded and the level of education is not getting better as blacks we don’t see anything that will change that direction.

        1. Ron,
          Since the majority of registered Voters in BPT are black and brown and the ratio of students reflects that…..what are the black and brown people of Bridgeport doing to change the course of the direction of the lives of their children. So doing nothing is the answer? You have supported charter schools but charter schools can only impact a very small percentage of the student body in BPT which as you say is mostly black and brown. Is that the answer? Give special advantage to a select few to the disadvantage of the overwhelming majority. I believe that charter schools are not the answer. First of all,i will say that charter schools are a form of segregation. Second,the charter schools in BPT are,according to what we have heard, only doing a middling job. Actually, a closer look may show that charter schools are failing in Bridgeport. In terms of the racial makeup of the BPS,I am reminded of the wisdom of a cliche,”A Rising Boat Lifts All Tides.”

          1. Frank, how many more years of this type of public school education that continues to fail our students Frank? How many generations of children must continues with this only type of educational system with public schools before there is a change? Teacher unions will fight charter schools without any upgrading of public schools. Frank, you think that this Bridgeport Board Of Education will upgrade the level of education? HELL NO, but let’s let those black and brown to fail, Frank, gang life keeps looking better, with both there’s no future.

  3. Let’s not forget Maria helped get the felon elected. The impostor will soon have the necessary requirements, and the Friday Night program seems like a positive for the youth of the Port. Let try to keep race out of it and say Jessica likes to smoke cocaine, allegedly. She claimed she was smoking weed out of the “cocaine pipe” Putting all that aside, you, ( OIB’s Marvin of the Super Friends) you are the kids hero. 🙂

    I will pray for you, for them, for your writing knows no leaps or bounds. There influence impacts us all with your profound sage wisdom and guidance. BAM!

    OIB, would we be here having this discussion if Jessica didn’t allow herself to get photographed? Probably why she stabbed him, rumorly, stabbed him. Not sure why he took the photo in the first place but it would’ve not made a nice Christmas card. JS

  4. I want to clear something here. It is not true what people are saying, especially Linda Lambeck from CTPost. I do not agree to take Jessica Martinez out as Chair of the BOE – I do not agree with the other members who voted against her. They created a coo and all of it was planned beforehand to remove Ms. Martínez. Your personal life is your life. If we are going to talk about all Board members and find out about their personal lives, we will almost be without any. Who are we to judge? Yes, the Mayor could be an ex-felon, but he is our Mayor. So why judge Ms. Martínez? Everyone is innocent until proven guilty – I want to clarify that I want her to stay as our Board Chair, which by the way, John Weldon wants to be the Chair again. Especially, since he likes to listen to the Administration, especially Dan Shamas and Danny Roach and others. When the votes were called, my vote was not heard. Hmm, how convenient! However, I already sent my email to clarify the situation of the vote stated on paper. I want her to stay as our new Chair of the Bridgeport Board of Education.

    1. Really? That’s the best that you can do, you have the elected head of the BBOE with a crack pipe and she’s smoking weed and not crack as she said and this what we want the 21,000 plus school students to see the head of their getting a good education, hell if it’s good enough for the head of the BBOE to do then it’s good for the students to do.

  5. Albert Benejan..” Your personal is your life. If we are going to talk about all Board members and find out about their personal lives,we will almost be without any”…

    Holy Christ,I mean,I don’t think I can even respond to this statement. Please, please, please, the state needs to step in NOW,and take over.

  6. Yep what a comment from this guy Benejan. This idiot says it all. It was Maria P. who informed us all about him and Martinez. Not to mention others and now that she is on the CC she was reporting on others who DO NOT perform as they should for the people.
    She is a valuable asset who can no longer inform us of the going’s on.
    Lennie I know she’s really pissed at you and I’ve found out that you did not exactly “ban” her but it would serve all concerned if you guys could make up…….. Lisa?

    1. Maria Pereira has no interest and will not be rejoining OIB. It is what it is and it’s time to move on. Things are dire in Bridgeport. There are other means of communication and,in fact,more avenues of communication need to be “built” to fight the Testa Virus of Malgovernance.

  7. The present BPT Board of Education is a monster created personally by Mario Testa. Twenty-Thousand plus schoolchildren and honest people in the BPT Public School System are victims of the Testa Virus.

  8. John Weldon,Chris Taylor,Sybil Allen,Joseph Lombard,Hernan Illingworth ,Albert Benejan are all trying to pass themselves off as “heroes” when they are part of the problem and ALL OF THEM MUST GO. It’s clear that Martinez became too much of a liability and became expendable. It does not change the total incompetence of the listed above.

  9. Rich
    Maria P was on the BOE for what, eight years? What did she accomplish on the BOE? I won’t say nothing but not much. And if she was allowed to post she would right now reprimand me for not having my facts and to pay attention to Branford and leave Bridgeport alone.
    Do you think that accomplishes anything? I don’t.
    Whatever she added to the conversation she took away ten fold because she made it personal, vindictive and turns twice as many people off. How much has attendance improved? How much has spending of council stipends decreased?
    The problem isn’t defined in reports that Maria produced, the problem is Ganim, Mario and the DTC, And to overcome that you need to build coalitions not tear people apart.

    1. Bob Walsh,
      While Maria Pereira was on the BOE,there were other like minded members who trying to improve the BPD. However,they NEVER achieved a majority and were only able to accomplish what they were able to do through the use of Roberts Rules. To have created real change would have required a majority on the BBOE. The failure to create change was not the fault of the few on the BBOE but the failure(for a myriad of reasons) of enough people in Bridgeport who did not get involved to fight the Testa Virus. Let’s one again remember the state of democracy and citizen involvement in Bridgeport governance. Joe Ganim “won” his reelection with 15% if registered voters in addition to the mishandling of he WFP petition/line by State Senator/mayoral candidate Marilyn Moore. I am absolutely convinced that had Moore been on the ballot using the WFP line she would have won the election,Joe Ganim would be answering phones at his Daddy’s law firm and hopefully Mario Tests would have resigned/retired the DTC chair as he had promised.

  10. Frank,
    Maria was elected the first time with two other candidates. So, yes, they did not have a majority but had a workable number of seats. But that quickly evaporated when Maria played her “my way or the highway” games.
    I agree with what you said about Marilyn Moore but that was years after Maria had her chance. And, Maria let it be known that she would not support Marilyn in that primary.
    So if she had Marilyn would not have to depend on Plan B. She would have won the primary.
    So once again it was my way or the highway and we got stuck with Ganim and Mario for another 4 years. Damn shame.

  11. Bob,
    I repeat. Marilyn Moore personally blew the WFP petition/ballot line and that is why we have 4 more years of GanimTesta. Let’s remember that Marilyn Moore won on the voting machines but lost due to Testa’s illicit AB operation. The WFP line was ALWAYS part of the MOORE mayoral strategy. I dont think anyone thought that Moore would have done that. The thought was closer to get as close as possible in the primary,create legitimacy and momentum going into the general with Moore on the WFP line. Lennie,to his credit,in his analysis prior to the primary did state of a possibility of Moore being very close or maybe even winning on the machine with Ganim “stealing” the primary with the Testa AB operation. To keep on blaming Maria Pereira for 4 more years of Ganim is simply wrong. MP was running her own campaign for the City Council and that is where her attention rightfully belonged. Not saving or electing Marilyn Moore. And lets remember another Marilyn Moore mistake. She decided to hold hands with Tony Barr up in the 138th. Major Mistake. Barr could never ever deliver a worthwhile number of votes to Moore in the 138th for the primary. Beyond that,we should not be rehashing the 2019 primary/election. We should have had closure and put this in the past. But Marilyn Moore has said nothing about 2019 and is running for reelection as if nothing happened. She has refused to address and put to bed the WFP fiasco and this will haunt her through her upcoming primary/general election.

    1. Frank, you are definitely wrong, once Senator Moore lost the primary it was over, there was no way that she could win even if she did get enough petition signed and was able to run. Joe Ganim would not has been able to run if he lost the primary because Ganim didn’t have any sign petitions to run so Marilyn Moore would have been the elected Democrat mayor for the general election.

      1. Ron
        Once again,Marilyn Moore beat Joe Ganim on the voting machines but lost due to Testa’s illicit AB operation. Going into a general election,Testa’s ability to run up substantial AB numbers becomes almost nil. If I remember correctly,Moore’s vote totals in both the primary and general(write in) were about the same. It seems we disagree about this but I truly believe that had Moore had her name on the ballot with the WFP line,she would have won. Ganim’s embarrassment from the Dem primary would have given Moore momentum to win in the general. However,the WFP fiasco completely lost all momentum for Moore and it degenerated to a focus on the BPT Gen Now lawsuit which never had a chance of winning in court and the Moore campaign became virtually invisible with sightings only on Facebook. Joe Ganim “won” with only 15% of the registered vote. Ganim is not a popular mayor with that type of ballot box performance. I claim (you disagree) that Moore would have won had she had her name on the ballot for all voters to see. However,we will never find out that hypothetical since Moore screwed up the WFP petition/ballot line.

        1. Ok. I am done discussing Marilyn Moore. I’ll vote for her if a primary/general election(I think there were be no better option) buy I am embittered by her WFP fiasco and her refusal to acknowledge it and bring it to closure.


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