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Welding A School Board Coalition For John Weldon

December 11th, 2017 · 17 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, Education, News and Events

Slater oath

John Weldon, center, receives oath of office Dec. 3 from John Slater, vice chair of the State Republican Party. At right is Weldon’s wife Geneva.

Black Rocker John Weldon who was elected to a four-year term in November is the favorite to win the chairmanship of the Board of Education at Monday’s organizational meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Aquaculture School. Mayor Joe Ganim will chair the organizational meeting of officers.

Weldon, a Republican, was appointed to the Board of Education in November of last year by Ganim to fill the vacancy of Republican Kevin McSpirit. Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled last year that the mayor has the authority to fill school board vacancies if the board does not act within 30 days of a resignation.

If elected chair Monday night, Weldon will become the sixth school board leader in six years. The sequence: Ken Moales, Sauda Baraka, Dave Hennessey, Dennis Bradley, Joe Larcheveque. Bradley, among that group, is still a board member. Bradley is eyeing another run for State Senate in 2018. He lost a Democratic primary to Ed Gomes in 2016.

The school board has endured a number of food fights the past six years starting with a state takeover of schools that was reversed by the Connecticut Supreme Court, four superintendents, insurgents winning seats, a Bradley-led boycott of meetings, charges, counter charges and a musical chair of chairs.

The likable Weldon is an understated personality with a hearty sense of humor. He’ll likely need one assuming he wins the chairmanship.

Weldon is manager of engineering and construction contracts for the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority in New York. Previously he was employed by the Greater Bridgeport Transit District with responsibilities that included grants management, major capital project administration, regulatory compliance, minority contracting/supplier diversity, civil rights compliance, customer relations and station/public amenities management.

Weldon attended Bridgeport public schools graduating from Central High School. He received a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from the University of Bridgeport.

In a Democratic-dominated city government that can be a lonely place for Republicans, the GOP has found relevance on the school board thanks to minority-party representation. Republicans feature three members, Weldon, Chris Taylor and Joe Sokolovic who also ran on the Working Families Party line in November. Democrats: Bradley, Maria Pereira, Ben Walker, Sybil Allen, Jessica Martinez, Hernan Illingworth.

Why Weldon? A couple of others have expressed interest in the position. Weldon brings three Republican votes to the table. That means he needs two others. If the six Dems could get together it would be ballgame. Easier said than done considering the personalities involved. And, for the most part, there’s not much difference between Dems and Republicans on the school board. Personalities drive the dissonance.

Monday night beckons.


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17 Comments so far ↓

  • Ron Mackey

    There is NO way that the six Democrats get it together to elect a Democrat, right Maria?

    • Robert Teixeira

      Ron I bet you Maria’s not going to vote for a Republican, Weldon. Unless it’s Bradley. OK maybe Martinze too. :) Are you going to blame her for the other 5 Democrats too? Without Maria, it’s still five to four in favor of the Democrat leadership, Right?

  • Jimfox

    John Weldon, a great Black Rocker and someone we can all trust, they don’t come any better then John.

  • Ron Mackey

    One thing we all know is Maria Pereira will not be the chairperson of the Bridgeport Board Of Education.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    By the end of 2007, it became clear to me that after over 14 years of volunteer service on the Democratic Party, I was going to be blocked in any attempt I made to serve the City of Bridgeport as a Democrat. I switched to the Republican Party and in the 2008 special election for the State Senate seat vacated by Bill Finch, I played a key role in supporting Republican Rob Russo and helping the Republicans briefly taking the Senate seat. That action in my part really pissed off the Democrats. I joined the RTC on the very same night that John Slater and John Weldon. They both showed a great degree of willingness to serve and the fact that almost ten (10) years later they are still active and have moved up in the Republican party is a testament to their long term commitment to serve the people of Bridgeport. Despite switching back to the Democratic Party around 2009, we’ve all kept a friendship based on mutual respect and our shared desire to serve the people of Bridgeport.

    John Weldon would be a great choice for BOE President. He knows the importance of working together and getting along. He has a great partner in his African American wife Geneva(peace talks)Weldon. I’m positive that as soon as Weldon is selected by his peers to lead the BOE, as a good welder would do, he will first start by ‘tac welding’ critical components together and then, with the help of colleagues, start the welding necessary to keep the BOE and our schools on a foundation strong as steel. Job wel don my friend. Good Luck.

  • Donald Day

    It will be a tough going for John or anyone else to be an effective leader if the vitriol that is said to permeate BBOE meetings isn’t stopped. If the next Chairman can’t convince the other members to put their agendas aside then the students of Bridgeport will continue suffer.

    I guess what I’m saying is that you must love the students of Bridgeport more than you hate each other.

  • Maria Pereira

    John Weldon is Ganim and Mario’s pick because he will do exactly as he is told.

    He joined the boycott the minute Ganim appointed him, he has never attended a Finance, Student and Families, Governance, Teaching and Learning or School Building Committee.

    Weldon has never introduced or shepherded a single policy or student centered initiative.

    I repeatedly referred the superintendent evaluation criteria to his committee where he failed to address it in violation of state law.

    Six months into the school year and the Superintendent has no evaluation criteria, yet Mario and Ganim have asked Chris Taylor, Jessica Martinez, Dennis Bradley, Hernan Illingworth, Sybil Allen and JOHN WELDON to fire Dr. Johnson because she is student centered and will not do Mario’s and Ganim’s bidding.

    Terminating this wonderful Superintendent would cost the District $500,000.

    The biggest problem is not the corrupt democrats in Bridgeport, it’s the corrupt and subservient Republicans who don’t oppose the corrupt Democratic machine. They instead work hand-in-hand with the corrupt democrats.

    I’ll be ready on Monday.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      What exactly is it that Mario & Joe have in the agenda.

      • Jimfox

        What Agenda?
        Kid, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the Schools Building Committee or the food service contracts or Building Contractors or Sub Contractors, Bids on School supply’s from light bulbs to laptops etc.
        I’m also sure that it has nothing to do with any kickbacks to the DTC, Mario would never let that happen!
        No agenda, just a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.
        For the past 30 years the industry for Bridgeport has been Schools, New, Old, and Revamped
        With those Fat Grants, State Bonding and the Taxpayers of Bridgeport and the DTC Supreme leader, the School Industry is doing just fine.

    • Maria Pereira

      We are still grappling with a $1.2 million dollar defict, $425,000 Of which came from John Weldon, Joe Larcheveque, Dennis Bradley, Annette Negron and Raphael Fonseca voting to rescind $425,000 Of the $500,000 fee we had assessed the patronage slush fund called the Lighthouse Program.

      Director Tammy Pappa is highly connected to Ganim, Testo and Ricci.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      “Six months into the school year and the Superintendent has no evaluation criteria, yet Mario and Ganim have asked Chris Taylor, Jessica Martinez, Dennis Bradley, Hernan Illingworth, Sybil Allen and JOHN WELDON to fire Dr. Johnson because she is student centered and will not do Mario’s and Ganim’s bidding.”

      Maria Pereira, you’re so full of shit, your eyes will still be brown if you put on a pair of blue contact lenses.

  • Maria Pereira

    Control over a $247,000,000 Operating Budget and patronage jobs. Security, custodial, typists, etc.

  • Donald Day

    Before you summarily dismiss everything Maria says about John Weldon lets not forget who it is that appointed John to the board originally. Those of us that has been around the block a few times with Joe Ganim let’s not forget that Mayor Ganim has done nothing or appointed anyone to anything that didn’t benefit Joe Ganim and his agenda.

    I’m certainly not saying everything that she said on this topic is true, but I am saying that knowing Mayor Ganim his chairmanship deserves second guessing on behalf of the children of Bridgeport.

    • Eric Alicea

      I agree with you. It’s pretty easy to connect the dots on the Ganim-Weldon connection. In one breath he states how he’s “supportive” of Dr. Johnson (he said as much in a CTPost article); then the minute he got to show his support he angrily (my interpretation) stared at her as he voted against the Lighthouse assessment.

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