School Board Chair Weldon Strips Sokolovic From Committee Positions Over Emails

They’ve gone at it for years, be it at school board meetings or on the campaign trail, and now it’s reached another boiling point. Board of Education Chair John Weldon has stripped Joe Sokolovic from committee assignments stemming from a series of email exchanges.

From Richard Chumney, CT Post

Bridgeport Board of Education Chair John Weldon has removed board member Joseph Sokolovic from his committee assignments over comments the chairperson called “very unprofessional,” setting off a dramatic confrontation between the longstanding foes.

The rebuke, announced last month, came after Sokolovic sent a series of emails to the board accusing Weldon of failing to uphold his responsibilities as chair and follow state open records laws.

“This is not an easy decision for me to make and it’s not easy for me to say this in public, but we all need to be mindful of the way we treat each other, whether it’s in this room or through the email system,” Weldon said at a subsequent special meeting June 14.

This week, Sokolovic, who for years has clashed with Weldon over a wide range of political disagreements, defended his comments and called the punishment disproportionate. He said that he believes the chair’s decision was made without any legal basis–a claim Weldon has refuted.

Full story here.



  1. To those who are wondering what I could possibly have said to cause chair to use his powers to strip me of all my committees, (when he has never in his four plus years as chair stripped ANYBODY of committees no matter what headline, indictment or behavior at a meeting) here it is below.


    No, I am not trying to “flex” no I’m not trying to play “gotcha”. Once again we did not yet have a posting for a scheduled meeting thereby requiring another cancellation. We need to do better as a board it is embarrassing that this is happening for the third time this year and that we can’t get basic FOIA requirements right.  

    I would like to suggest AGAIN that all chairs, whether board or committee chairs, check the website to ensure timely posting of agendas as sometimes staff may be overwhelmed by their workload.  Facilities has only met twice this year the only other committee that has met less is the calendar committee, so it is imperative that it is rescheduled.



    You waiting until 12 min. after the FOI deadline to send this chastising “gotcha” e-mail (and then denying that that’s what it is) is a little disingenuous.  If you want to appoint yourself the “FOI Police”, it would be more helpful for you to alert us to a potential violation in enough time to correct the situation, instead of waiting and watching for the issue to be problematic before opening your mouth.

    The meeting will be rescheduled to be compliant with FOI laws.  I will also make sure the IT staff appreciates the importance of posting these items within the proper deadlines.


    IT IS NOT MY JOB! ITS YOUR COMMITTEE! Pay attention to your responsibilities: you are failing to hold meetings, failing to put items on the agenda.  
    You have four committees yet have called fewer meetings than any other two committees combined.


    Only wrote that because I knew that is what you would think. You are so predictable in trying to dodge responsibility for your failure.

    Oh and 6:42-6:00 is 42 minutes not 12



    You are under the misimpression that this is a dialogue.  It is not.  However, since you’ve chosen to respond the way that you have, I will tell you this:  Your varying three responses reveal a lot about you with the level of blame, name calling and self-righteousness that they convey.  It is unfortunate that you choose to conduct yourself in this fashion.  So much more could be achieved if you weren’t so combative.  I hope you’ll give that some thought.

    In closing, the meeting has been removed from everyone’s calendar and I am scheduling a discussion with IT to determine why meeting notices/agendas are not making their way to the website after the Superintendent’s Office uploads them.  No further response on this topic is warranted.  I am going to enjoy the rest of my Saturday – I would ask that you try to do the same.


    Have a drink on me.  Do us all a favor and don’t drive or give any speeches.

    And I leave you with this my words of advice from the last time this happened, this is the appropriate response of someone who has failed or made a mistake.  Had you learned anything from your last mistake we’d be meeting on Monday.

    BTW 90% of the agenda items not driven by the superintendent have been out of my committees. How much more you want me to do?

  2. There clearly is another agenda at work. I truly believe the real reason is to stall the progress I have made on the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee (which I created). Two months after I got Eid Al Fitr approved as a day off for our Islamic students, despite Weldon fighting against doing so every step of the way, I was stripped of all my committees. Weldon placed himself, a man that uses “woke” as a slur. A white man that dares to define what a “real African American” is. A man who repeats utter nonsense that people who consider themselves black are ignorant. This man now serves on the committee that is supposed to be dismantling the systemic racism that exists within the Bridgeport Board of Education.

    Does anyone think Weldon will be a voice for the voiceless? Do you think the committee will continue to tackle the hard, controversial race/gender disparities that exist within our education system? I for one don’t think he will:

    I hope you all are watching how the board votes on equity issues and how the committee handles my referrals, because I am not yet done. My voice will only get louder.

    1. @JS
      Actually there might be still another agenda in play. Ganim and company are scared shirtless that Marcus Brown will go down in flames in His attempt to unseat sitting State Rep. Jack Hennessy,
      They can’t do anything directly to Jack after denying him the BDTC endorsement and forcing a primary. So: this week they censure Maria P and tell her she can’t speak at Council meetings, only vote (silencing her constituents who elected her to be their voice on the Council) and now you are stripped of your committee assignments.
      No secret she is campaign manager for Jack and you are the campaign treasurer.
      As usual, something and someone is rotten in Bridgeport

      1. Interesting alternative view. Either way that leaves me stripped of a committee of my own creation and replaced with a racially and sexually insensitive member.

        Politically motivated, or forces rallying to protect the institution, I’ve only served on the committee I created for a Period of 8 months and through that committee:

        Encouraged the supt to have EVERY teacher receive DEI training

        Brought to the surface severe disparity amongst our staff (especially Hispanic teachers to Hispanic students)

        Entered into a partnership and that free encouraged anti-racist training to our board in exchange for providing a site (I forced Weldon to attend as deal to get my vote for chair, thought he could learn something. How wrong I was.)

        Forced Eid Al Fitr as a holiday for our Marginalized Islamic students against Chair Weldon’s strong objections. (Even going so far as spending taxpayer dollars to try and create a policy to make it harder for the board to add a new holiday.)

        I was hoping in the new school year to look at some gender/orientation issues and continue dragging the institution kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

        It’s not me being punished, it’s the students and staff.

          1. Marcus, teh way I see it, Joe picked a petty fight and lost. Weldon may have always wanted to remove Joe based on political sides or agendas, that seems for sure. But it was Joe’s email/fight that got him punished. He instigated it, and Weldon seized on it. I can say if it was what Joe might have expected in response of his showboating.

            However, let’s look at those so-called (“unselfish good deeds)

            1, What member is Joe calling, “racially and sexually insensitive” in his fight for racial, sexual diversity, and inclusiveness? Beware it might be seen as labeled or slander.

            2, Not sure what institution is being protected. They are all democratically elected and allowed Joe to create a committee of your wishes.

            3, From my understanding of text/comment etiquette. When Joe text/type something in all caps he either was shouting it or not being truthful. In his word “every” that was in all cap indicates he was not really encourage “Every” teacher to take DEI training. So much for that equality thing.

            4, The imbalance of minority teachers has been an ongoing issue in the school system to hire more minority teachers. As for the Port’s (“white” 🙂 ) Hispanic-speaking students that imbalance/issue is more prevalent because of the influx of nonspeaking English (whites) students that migrated to the Port in recent years.

            5. You have to be careful these days on what/where racism lies in the BBOE if it is anything like the current BPD racism.

            6. Really, you forced Eid Al Fitr as a holiday issue. Kids are damn in this game. 🙂

            Joe, being the new piranha on Port’s BOE if your future on the board becomes bleak and doesn’t work out as you planned maybe you can connect with Maria and become her council partner. You have no issue following her and kissing her booty. I would take the one-knee approach. 🙂

  3. Marcus, they can’t be too “scared shirtless” that Marcus Brown will go down in flames. If Hennessy wins, he’s still retiring, right?

    Joe, quick question. Before you brought up this issue that was either a “failure or mistake” on Weldon’s part to his attention that was past an apparent deadline to be corrected. Did you reach out to Weldon to see where the failure or mistake lies and asked him to correct it? It would be a willful deliberate “failure or a mistake” on your part to bring it to Weldon’s attention who would be powerless or unable to correct the issue at hand.

    If that’s the case and didn’t give Weldon prior note of a “failure or mistake” he may have made but only brought it up in a reprimanding email. Then I have to agree with Weldon. It was a “gotcha” game. You may say it wasn’t but it was and you got “gotchaed” 🤣

    Joe, you’re “voice for the voiceless” if what I aforementioned is the case, the only voice is yours and your agenda. The kids are damned, but that’s nothing new.

    Joe, please elaborate on what hard, controversial race/gender disparities exist within our education system that Weldon will not tackle. From my understanding over 90% of Port’s public student body is a minority. (depending on the definition you want to apply whiteness. Happy PR Day, people. 🙂

    P.S Joe, don’t tell people what you’re doing. It is like a car salesman walking up to a customer looking at a car and saying, “I am going to rip you off and then slaps the hood. “Gotcha” 🤣

  4. Reading about the antics of the Bridgeport Board of Education over the years is truly depressing. This is only the latest chapter in a very bleak book.

    It’s no surprise why so many Bridgeport middle-class parents send their kids to private schools at great expense or move out of Bridgeport. Education has always been the way forward and unfortunately those people without financial means have very few options.

    There’s many complex, societal factors impacting urban education and I don’t know the answers. But school boards like the BBOE are certainly a major contributing factor.

    1. It is truly depressing to me as well to have been involved in some of those antics. As the only current board member with a child in the schools being affected by the lack of leadership and pettiness of the chair it is even more concerning.

      Mr. O’Malley, respectfully in your years of observation, viewing headlines of various arrests, investigations and vicious board meetings filled with name calling, have you ever seen a chair remove all of somebody’s committee assignments?

      And in your opinion does the internal e-mail I sent rise to level of being stripped of all committees?

  5. Denis, good to know that you continue to read, reflect and respond on OIB.
    Joe did not ask me what I thought but I agree that NO seems very much in order.
    Which Board members see a reason to limit, censure, and otherwise shut out Joe S? Who is doing the responsible work of each Committee? What news does the public receive and is it true or slanted? Timely or irregular? Prove beyond a reasonable doubt that good things are achieved in City classrooms, justifying the system and its expense? Time will tell.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful commentary. You as my constituent, as all my constituents have the right, no the obligation to voice your opinion whether or not I agree with it , I read it and digest it. With this opinion I agree wholeheartedly of course!

      1. Joe ,to be fair though, you willfully engage in petty Port Politics after workinghours, on a Saturday. Most like this took play over this 4th July Holiday weekend too. I know your commie views tend to not allign with American’s capitalism ideals but it could have waited until working hours. As you know BBOE member is not a paying job and can be thanksless at times, but people do celebrate and like to relax over the weekends. Many believe in America, that has been a beacon of hope, freedom, and properity for ever race, creed, and culture that has come to its shores. As challenging as it can be no one will deny people still seek to come to this land, including many blacks. (disclaimer not a best idea to strap exposive devises on you body and light them) 🙂

      2. RT
        It is interesting that you suggest that “Port politics has always been a contact sport”. One video does not account for how carefully those in power stay in the shadows on real issues. Is that a sign of sports bravery, or is it an example of being in a game but not accountable?
        Perhaps you meant to suggest that Port politics has always been a CONTRACT sport? When you add an ‘R’ to the word you chose, it begins to make more sense when you learn the history of how to get a job in B’port? And perhaps it begins to explain why so many Bridgeport employees do not have an “Annual Merit Evaluation” as do so many in larger businesses and not for profits. Why have unions and City management been able to interrupt a normal process of working towards better public service, increasing skills and pride in jobs better done, and increases in productivity and best practices like other municipalities? Time will tell.

        1. You can’t get a contract with contact. I’ll save the “R” for DEMOCRACY. 🤣

          I can’t make the distinctions between bravery or accountability for those with power who want to maintain that power on real issues, but the Port has been advertising city police employment. I assume like all employment it starts with an application. The police are recruiting once again. Has the NAACP been actively assisting in trying to get people that look like them, the community, to apply? The city’s Public Works department is also seeking to hire.

          As equally as people want the world to be, it will never be. A midget will never play in the NBA. So do we find fault with the NBA? Neither can businesses, nonprofits, and governmental employment be run as a cookie-cutter? Each has its own dynamics and cash flow and revenue. As an accountant, you can understand that aspect of the game.

          P.S John, that shadow, shit! might be more careful and shadowy than your ability to enumerate. JS

  6. @ Robert Teixeira answering you here because you raised some interesting point. I may have to upgrade you from a carpenters pencil, to a screwdriver after this.

    Your opening statement is in fact correct, that Weldon did in fact use the e-mail to do what he never could politically (and still hasn’t) which is to quiet my voice.

    1. I am calling John Weldon out On racial and sexuality based insensitivity, the truth is an absolute defense against slander, and or libel. (See photo comments in CT post article)

    2. The institution being protected is the city of Bridgeport and it’s Public Schools.

    3. Text CAPS comments are yelling and for emphasis. Yelling at Weldon emphasis on Every.
    EXAMPLE<—- emphasis YOU’RE WRONG TEX <— shouting.

    4. True but more emphasis is now being put on targeted recruitment with a stated goal of a ten percent more diverse teaching pool in future teacher convocations.

    5. It is an area worthy of exploration on t DEI committee.

    6. Yes shoved down throats. Initially children brought this before committee and were REJECTED, at the next public meeting I signed up and stated that how I was ashamed at such a board that would deny Muslim children equity with their peer. I met with the Muslim community (another fellow board member separately met with them) and encouraged them to come out in numbers. I put it on my next agenda again and invited the media and the kids presented at committee again, in a room packed with Muslim community members. It passed committee 3 to 0 with chairmen Weldon doing everything he could to slow momentum.

    It then was going to be presented to the full board. In the interim, we received over 1,000 emails in support from Muslim, Jew and Christian leaders.

    At the full board meeting Eid Al Fitr was finally approved (after a last minute legal opinion the chair requested to slow momentum) the room was jam packed, public speaking full to capacity and then some, so important was this issue to the Muslim community they came at the end of their fasting carrying figs and other snacks to eat at sundown. The most satisfying feeling I ever had as a board member was being handed a fig, and hearing the words “thank you” said to me.

    So yes I dare say it was shoved down the boards throat and it probably would not have happened without me being rude and confrontational with some of my fellow board members, (with the aforementioned constructive support of one fellow member logistically)

    The vote passed 8-0 with one abstention. (Mr. Weldon)

    Immediately after there was a calendar committee created to create parameters to do what we did without parameters. New Parameters that could only make it harder for the next group to achieve equity. That’s how a system fights back.

    Equity ain’t easy.


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