School Board Removes Jessica Martinez As Chair

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.



  1. Good!!!
    Now if most of the rest of them would leave, as well as most on the CC and DTC, AND Ganim & company, Bridgeport government could start over again!!!
    But with who?????!!!!!!

  2. Maria P. has the kind of power, clout and persuasive personality that extends to boards she no longer serves on. That’s dramatic content. She touches the flame without getting burnt. You can’t teach how to do that.
    Maybe Lennie should pay her a monthly stipend to keep her on the blogroll.

    1. Maria does get burnt—by comments from people that actually just expect more, or that dislike her, or her style. While I understand that some here dislike her for whatever reasons, my point about Maria has always been that at least she’s a person of action who for whatever reason is trying to make things better by shedding light on what she perceives to be wrongdoing by people ‘in power.’ She sees and understands the issues, brings them to light, and is often criticized for the way she approaches things. I don’t much care for the style or method that wrongdoing is exposed as long as it is exposed. Complaints against her mostly focus on the fact that her abrasive style prevents others from working with her. I get that. But at least she steadfastly continues to push forward. That is why I say again—imagine if there were more Maria’s in these positions.

      1. Ode to Maria…
        She does shed light
        With all her might.
        It’s EXTRAORDINARY AND outtasight!!!
        As a Council member duty, it’s termed oversight.

        Each of us who vote and pay personal funds of any kind in the City, including WPCA fees, Lighthouse activites, parking payments or plain auto, property or business taxes should talk with each of our City Council members about money issues. Of what are they aware? What brings on their 1000 yard stare? Financial iniquity shows too much ubiquity in our City? How can the Council raise itself from an object of pity to overcome gross absurdity? Time will tell.

  3. You don’t know Maria. You haven’t tried to work with her. She is the classic lone wolf.
    In any campaign I’ve been involved it, it isn’t a question of if she make it without blowtorching her work it’s only a matter of when.

    1. Bob, you got it right about Maria. The point that Rich and others refuse to except is the fact that Maria does NOT have the skill and ability to form a coalition with others to make change. Yes, she’s can point out problems and provide some information on certain things but her lone wolf style has NO flexibility, it’s Maria’s way or the highway, that’s not how political changed operates, the name of the game is 50% plus one and Maria’s personally does NOT allow Maria to function that way and she will NEVER change. Unfortunately the be realize a long time ago that Maria could not and would not change despite the fact that she can do good research but she can’t make change. There are only a few people who give her great advice and support her but Maria is her own person, sad but true.

    1. So Bob and Ron your comments are exactly what I was referring to.
      I SAID: “I get that”— but—She’s a lone wolf unafraid to try and take down much larger prey. I respect that. I’d rather support that type of person in these type of situations, in this type atmosphere, than complain about not liking or not agreeing with her style.

      1. Rich, support what, do you want change or do you want to feel good because one person makes a point about something that you like and agree with? Change requires mass support of others to join into make change and people will not follow or support someone who believes is their way or the high way?

        1. So what don’t you get about the fact that at least someone is pointing shit out? Without that all one would have are comments from people like you about what should’ve been and what could’ve been.

  4. Ron, m’y dear friend, I’ve been in Rich’s company enough to know that he would be a “good warrior” if he lived in Bridgeport. Of course he would have to live in my district, I need to be motivated. You and me go back a long time, and that’s why we’re like-minded and will always be friends. But I like Rich, you would too.


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