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The Search For Bagley’s Replacement, GOP Urges Selection Of Steve Best For School Board

October 23rd, 2014 · 56 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, Education, News and Events

Megan DeSombre from Education Bridgeport has update on Bagley replacement protocol here

John Bagley’s resignation from the Board of Education last week has members of the school board in search of a replacement. Bridgeport’s Republican Party is recommending Steve Best who came up short in an effort to win one of the three minority party spots on the board last November.

Here’s what the City Charter states about filling a school board vacancy:

If a vacancy arises for any reason in the membership of the Board of Education, the remaining members shall elect a new member to serve for the balance of the term vacated. The person so elected shall be a resident and elector and a member of the same political party as the member vacating such office.

Bagley won a seat two years ago as a registered Democrat running on the Working Families Party line. There are only four registered WFP voters in the city, according to Democratic Registrar Sandi Ayala. The replacement cannot be a Democrat because under state-mandated minority-party representation, the maximum number of Democrats who can serve on the board is six. Because Bagley won the seat on a line different from his political affiliation, does this now open up the search pool to all candidates outside the Democratic Party?

The City Attorney’s Office is expected to craft that argument to school board members. The school board’s own attorney may have a different interpretation.

From the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee:

The Bridgeport Republican Town Committee is proud to recommend Steve Best for the current vacancy on the Board of Education.

Steve Best was a candidate for the Board of Education in 2013 and came within 280 votes of election. Steve attended all of the Board of Education meetings in 2013 at which time he then became the deputy campaign manager for David Walker for Lieutenant Governor which preempted his ability to attend further meetings due to statewide travel.

Within that time, Steve has continually expressed interest in another run for Board of Education. Although not a lifelong resident, Steve has proven time and again his commitment to the City of Bridgeport as well as all of Bridgeport’s children. For these reasons and more, Steve has the full confidence of the Bridgeport RTC.

During the 2013 Board of Ed election, The Connecticut Post published four Op-Eds written by Steve about Education.

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56 Comments so far ↓

  • Joel Gonzalez

    An Hispanic would be not just “Best” but fair.

    • Ron Mackey

      Joel Gonzalez, why are you playing the race card?

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Because you have made me realize not to leave home without it. How many more blacks on the School Board do you want? What would you and many others be saying if there weren’t a single black member on the BOE? The one BOE member introduced and supported by your district leader and neighbors was a horrible choice. It was a black woman who led the charge for a State takeover of the Bridgeport BOE. I can go on and on with my race card. Your race card has exceeded its limit.

        • Ron Mackey

          Joel Gonzalez, I would like all the BOE members to be black or five blacks and four Hispanics because I’ve seen where all of the members were white.

      • Hector A. Diaz

        Ron, might be because we don’t have one Puerto Rican on the board to represent over 50% of the student population.

        • Ron Mackey

          Hector A. Diaz, Hispanics and blacks will never have any power until we come together as a people. Mario Testa won’t let that happen because he holds the keys to jobs, positions, commissions and the membership of the Democratic Town Committee.

          • Hector A. Diaz

            Ron, I agree wholeheartedly with you. We have had and will continue to have the opportunity to make changes. Will we is the question? All my life I’ve worked for the issues that affect both our communities with equal intensity. I would be appalled if there were no black representation on the Board, you should be just as appalled now.

        • Ron Mackey

          Hector A Diaz, blacks and Hispanics cannot look at each other as the enemy. The BOE selection process shows us we must have people in all political parties and we MUST have candidates who are truly concerned about Bridgeport, of course we will have a spy or two but if we come together on an open agenda for our people and Bridgeport then we will see a power shift. This is NOT against whites, instead it’s pro-black and Hispanic, we have always been supporting and voting for white candidates and I’m sure that they will support us because of our concern about the City we all love.

  • Pete Spain

    Twitter feed of CT Post reporter Linda Lambeck.

    ‏@lclambeck 37 minutes ago Bridgeport, CT

    Baraka says attorney has advised her that Bagley replacement has to be from WFP. R there any? Can anyone sign up? #bridgeport

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      It would be good to know what attorney gave this opinion. It appears the state rule for minority party representation is different than the Bridgeport wording.

  • Bob Walsh

    Lennie,
    You will need to check on this. I know at one time there was something like a six-month waiting period to switch from one party to another. No wait to switch from unaffiliated to a party.
    Could make a difference.

  • Bob Walsh

    The first question I have is why is the Bag Man resigning NOW?
    Did someone suggest he and the WFP would be better off if he resigned prior to Andre Baker? His one vote may have greater significance more sooner than later.
    If that is the case, was his resignation effective immediately or was a date specified. I ask simply to determine if John is currently a voting member of the board. Does he have a vote on his replacement policy if we end up with legal opinions that are in conflict? Could be important or at least helpful.
    And my final question is how far does Mark Anastasi go out on a limb with a concocted and contorted legal opinion trying to please the mayor and give him as much say in a replacement as possible?

    • LennieGrimaldi

      Troll, a copy of Bagley’s resignation letter shows it was dated October 15, 2014 and received by the City Clerk’s Office 12:01 p.m. on that date. The opening sentence states, “This is to serve as notice of my resignation from the position of elected member of the Bridgeport Board of Education, effective immediately.”

  • Maria Pereira

    Steve Best in no way qualifies as a replacement for John Bagley’s vacated BBOE seat. John is a registered Democrat who ran on the WFP line. Steve Best is neither a Democrat nor a WFP member, therefore he in no way meets the requirements of the City Charter. Steve Best started attending BBOE meetings right before he decided to run for the BBOE. I have not seen him at a single BBOE meeting since January 2014. So much for his commitment to the BPS and its children. He was a supporter of Paul Vallas, supports charter schools and privatization. What else is left to be said?

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      You raise an interesting statement, Maria–the only real qualification in Bridgeport to hold this office is getting on the ballot and being elected. Best was endorsed as qualified by the RTC. Does the BOE have a different set of qualifications for a candidate as a replacement than the requirements of this city to run for this office?

  • Maria Pereira

    We already have two male BBOE members from Black Rock and they are both buffoons. Dave Hennessey and Joe Larcheveque are absolutely clueless when it comes to state statues that govern boards of education, the Minimum Budget Requirement, Freedom of Information Act and BBOE policies. The last thing we need is another guy from Black Rock.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      AH!!! The queen of the educational programs in Bridgeport has spoken out about two members of the BOE from Black Rock, Hennessey and Larcheveque. They are on her ever-expanding lists of people who piss the queen off. Seems to me not that long ago you were at the polls asking people to vote for these two amongst others. What happened, did they forget to genuflect or forget to vote the way you wanted?
      BTW the night referral made by someone else might be in r4eference to BATS, they hang upside down all day and come out at night and are a real PIA.

      • Maria Pereira

        Andy, another false statement made by you. I have never supported Joe Larcheveque or asked a single person to vote for him.

        Although several people warned me about supporting Dave Hennessey, I chose to support him anyway. You know what they say, fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Dave Hennessey will never have an opportunity to fool me again.

        I am not surprised you posses some level of knowledge on bats. In fact, it doesn’t surprise me at all.

    • Hector A. Diaz

      Maria, I live in Black Rock and I’m a guy. I resent and represent your comment.

      • Maria Pereira

        Sorry Hector, I did not mean to offend you. I was going to insert an additional adjective, but I decided against it. It would have definitely exempted you from my the initial comment because this adjective would clearly not have applied to you.

  • Maria Pereira

    In addition, although any Democrat or Republican can petition onto a ballot and does not require the endorsement of the party, that is expressly forbidden on the WFP line. The only way you can run on the WFP line is if the State Central Committee endorses your candidacy.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Maria, can you please clarify? I understand in a general election WFP must endorse a candidate, are you saying in an internal board election WFP must endorse the candidate? One of the registered WFP members cannot come forward for consideration without WFP endorsement? Thanks.

  • Maria Pereira

    Steve Best has resided in Bridgeport for just a few years, therefore he has never attended a BPS. In addition, he has no children in the BPS. He did not attend all the BBOE meetings in 2013, that statement is patently false. He is just another outsider and carpetbagger who thinks he knows what is best for our poor minority children and he has not, cannot and will not ever be able to relate to the vast majority of children who attend the BPS.

    • Lifelong Bpt

      Maria,
      When is someone new to the area “Bridgeport” enough to run for office? What if they left and came back?
      If a person is a taxpaying citizen of Bridgeport, he or she should be able to have a say in the city they live in, no? Part of having that say is running for local political positions. Maybe they have experience in other areas similar to Bridgeport.

      • Maria Pereira

        Lifelong Bpt, in order to be the President of the United States you must be born in the United States. I personally do not like the idea of an outsider from Darien or Ridgefield serving on the BBOE. 99% of BPS children qualify for free/reduced-price lunch. Can you shed light on how an affluent suburb is “similar to Bridgeport?”

        • Lifelong Bpt

          So basically, to you if someone were not born and raised in Bpt, then they need not consider a run for the BOE or any other position in BPT?
          My question was in general, not specific to Best. I do not know his background. But I have seen you post about others “new to BPT” and calling them outsiders. So my question was and is, when is someone Bridgeport enough?
          And when I said “similar to Bridgeport,” I was not referring to Best but others who would run. How about a parent who moved here from another big city–Hartford, NYC, Philly–is that similar enough? And not everyone living in the suburbs grew up in the suburbs.

          • Maria Pereira

            Lifelong Bpt, personally I do not think anyone without real roots in the Bridgeport community should serve in a citywide elected office.
            I absolutely am against someone moving here from NY, NJ, PA, etc. serving in an elected capacity with 5-10 years of residence in Bridgeport. We have thousands and thousands of homegrown quality, intelligent and capable residents who are more than qualified for every elected office in Bridgeport.

            David Daniels was born and raised in Bridgeport and attended the BPS, however he hasn’t lived here in years, however I have no problem with his desire to move back to Bridgeport and run for Mayor. In my opinion, he has roots in this community and has contributed to the well-being of thousands of Bridgeport children and residents.

            Can you shed light on what someone like Steve Best has done to better the lives of Bridgeport children or residents?

        • Lifelong Bpt

          I could not comment on your remark below, but once again, I do not know Best or his history and I’m not about to look it up. My question was a general one regarding candidates for office not born and raised in Bridgeport.
          We disagree. If a talented person moved to BPT ten years ago, they should have every right to run for a political office, especially since those thousands and thousands of qualified people are not running for office.
          Also, if a parent moved here 5-10 years ago, and they have a child in the BPS, they have right to speak up as well. Hell, if you have a child in the BPS and lived only one year here, you should have a voice in your child’s education.

          • Maria Pereira

            I am not saying they shouldn’t run because clearly any registered voter in Bridgeport could run for municipal office, however I would not support them unless they had really worked to help others in our community. If I were unable to support a particular candidate and one of my reasons was they have lived here for a short period of time and have not volunteered in our community, I would definitely share that information with the electorate in my neighborhood and my friends and family. It is simply my personal opinion.

  • rob traber

    Lennie,
    How many comments can Maria make in a row? I thought you had standards.

    • Ron Mackey

      Rob Traber, I think it might be time for you and Kim to step up your game and run for public office.

    • Maria Pereira

      Rob,
      Instead of being concerned with the standards of others, maybe it is best you examine yours.
      You repeatedly stated Mayor Finch did not believe in democracy or the right to vote, however your BEA membership voted unanimously NOT to endorse Malloy or Foley. You then attended the CEA meeting and cast a vote to endorse Malloy. So much for believing in democracy and respecting your members’ will.
      As you already know, you angered many of your members and I know that to be a fact.

    • observer

      I think Lennie is doing a public service keeping Maria occupied and off the streets in the middle of night when she posts these very telling comments.

      • Maria Pereira

        observer, please elaborate on why you would think I would be in the streets in the middle of the night in the first place? Is this the most compelling argument you could post regarding my position on a proposed Republican candidate to fill the BBOE vacancy?
        If it is, maybe you should consider furthering your education.

  • Bob Walsh

    Rather than posting more personal insults on OIB, Maria or whoever else is the WFP in Bridgeport should recruit an unaffiliated voter with similar beliefs to immediately register in the WFP.
    That person should write the BOE to express their interest in replacing Bags. So at least there is a legitimate member of the WFP who is a candidate.
    This would at least eliminate Mark or the city saying the WFP is a moot point.

    • Maria Pereira

      Bob,
      Are you actually trying to criticize me for the “personal insults” I have posted on this blog? You are absolutely one of the last people on this blog to try and chastise anyone else for the “personal insults” they may have posted on OIB. As frightening as this proposition may be, I think you need to stand in front of a mirror and take a long look at yourself. For you to even think it appropriate to throw stones at anyone else for their comments on this blog truly demonstrates how out of touch you are with yourself and reality.

  • Jimfox

    I heard Tom Mulligan has just registered as a WFP member. Can anyone tell me if it’s true?

    • Bob Walsh

      Tom Mulligan wants to register with the WWWF, aka World Wide Wrestling Federation Party. He believes his prior time on the BOE automatically qualifies him.

  • flubadub

    Excuse my ignorance. John Bagley is a registered Democrat as stated above. Regardless if he were endorsed by the WFP, would his replacement not need to be a registered Democrat as well?

  • Bob Walsh

    No, because that would be in violation of the state minority party representation requirement. The selected person CANNOT be a Democrat.
    WFP, Republican or Unaffiliated candidates need only apply to adhere to state law.
    Being elected as a WFP candidate allowed Bagley to meet this requirement. The city charter dictates the replacement be of the same party.
    My guess is Mark A will come up with an opinion (not based in case law but merely his opinion) that will state a Democrat who claims to abide by the principals of the WFP would meet all legal requirements.

  • Jimfox

    Bob, you’re right! So the Finch Cartel will dust off Mulligan to register as WFP, then switch back as a Finchette once he becomes the Chair of the BOE. Who needs Mark Asshat with a plan like this?

  • Lifelong Bpt

    Lennie,
    Is Andre Baker running unopposed? Isn’t he resigning from the BOE after the election? So there are two replacements needed, no?

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    According to the Secretary of the State’s website, it takes three months for a person already registered with a party to switch their affiliation, the waiting period does not apply when switching from unaffiliated.

    Could an unaffiliated register as a member of the Working Families Party to fill the vacant seat?

  • Bob Walsh

    Correct, Jennifer.
    You can have five unaffiliateds switch and only one believe in the WFP, but that would not prevent the board from selecting one of the four bogus members.

  • Jimfox

    To join a political party, you must designate a party affiliation either when you register or any time thereafter. You can drop or change your party affiliation by using a mail-in registration card to notify your registrars of voters.
    If you switch parties, your new party privileges become effective after three months. If you’ve been unaffiliated for at least three months, and you switch from unaffiliated to any party, your new party privileges become effective immediately. If you’ve been unaffiliated for less than three months, your switch becomes effective at the end of the third month.

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