The Board of Education Monday night by a 6-3 margin removed Jessica Martinez as chair, just three months after appointing her board leader of the largest school district in the state.
The board will name a replacement at a future meeting. Martinez, Hernan Illingworth and Albert Benejan voted in favor of keeping her in place.
Chris Taylor, John Weldon, Sybil Allen, Joe Sokolovic, Bobbi Brown and Joseph Lombard voted for removal.
School board members cite several factors for this vote: suspicion of drug use (which she denies), violent altercations with her “ex-boyfriend,” leading to arrest (she claims she’s a victim), lack of protocol for running meetings, flaccid support for more school funding from the state, et al.
School board bylaws allow for removal of officers. Martinez will remain as an elected member of the board up for reelection next year.
CT Post reporter Linda Conner Lambeck attended the meeting:
Several board members said a picture widely circulated on social media that appeared to show Martinez with drug paraphernalia, coupled with her personal legal battles forced the action.
… “I do support Jessica Martinez,” Illingworth said. “”hese are just allegations. Yes there is a picture. but do any of us have proof of when that picture was taken or if it was altered in any way? We are removing her, accusing her of something with no proof. If anyone can (show) proof I would probably change mind.”
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.