MONROE, CT – A decision of the city council of to oppose Democrat Chrissy Fensore Martinez’s nomination for an open seat on the Board of Education sparked intense debate, before a legal opinion from City Attorney Frank Lieto allowed the board to reverse its decision Monday night.
At City Council of October 11President Jonathan Formichella expressed reluctance to support Martinez’s nomination to fill the position vacated by Nick Kapoor, as Martinez’s employer, Aspire Living and Learning, is a supplier to the Monroe Board of Education.
However, on Monday evening, Councilman Jason Maur said Lieto’s legal opinion was that there was no conflict of interest, according to the city charter, as long as procedures were followed.
If nominated, Martinez has agreed to write a letter to the ethics board and the city clerk, advising them of the potential conflicts and agreeing to recuse herself from any votes where a conflict of interest is found.
Maur had also questioned the validity of the Council’s narrow 4-3 vote against Martinez’s nomination on October 11, as it was not a roll-call vote.
Formichella said he thought full disclosure was important, adding that he was glad Martinez agreed to write the letter. The president agreed to call for a vote to change Monday night’s agenda to vote on Martinez’s nomination and the motion passed unanimously.
Formichella offered to approve Martinez’s appointment to the term ending 27 November 2023 and Vice President Enid Lipeles seconded him. Then the board approved the nomination by an 8-0 vote.
City council members and some members of the Monroe Democratic City Committee, who sat in the chambers, cheered. Then there was a standing ovation from Democrats as first-team coach Ken Kellogg was sworn in to Martinez. Republicans cheered from their seats.
“Mr. President, just for the record, I was cheering. I was,” said Councilman Kevin Reid, who joined the meeting remotely.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Jennifer Aguilar, a Democrat who once served on city council, thanked the council and especially Maur for her hard work in getting Martinez back on the council for the vote. She also thanked Lieto for his legal advice.
“I think it was the right thing to do,” Aguilar said.
Later that evening, Martinez said, “I want to thank the city council for their confidence in my knowledge and skills. I look forward to serving the students of our community and feel fortunate to be able to join our school board in the important work they do.
The city council unanimously approved other appointments Monday night, including:
james Weinberg (R) at the Board of Police Commissioners for a term ending October 13, 2025.
Weinberg has volunteered for the city in several capacities over the years, including as a member of the Board of Education, Ethics Board, Planning and Zoning Commission, and Inland Wetlands Commission. , as well as a police officer.
He fills a position left vacant by the expired term of long-serving police commissioner, Ronald Villani.
Elaine Miller (R) at the Library Board for a term ending in November 30, 2026.
Miller, a 35-year-old resident, is a mother of five who has enjoyed using the Monroe Public Library and wants to give back by serving the council. She worked as a hospital pharmacy manager, served as vice president of a condominium association, and served on several committees in the Monroe public school system.
Miller’s appointment fills a position left vacant by the resignation of Linda Fracassini.
Victor Yanosy (R) from 107 Cutlers Farm Road to the station of Constable for a term ending November 27, 2023. He fills the position of constable left by James Weinberg.
The nomination from the Republican City of Monroe Committee states, “Victor had previously served as Monroe Constable for 35 years and looks forward to returning and serving the city and its people.”