To the Editor:
This letter is a response to misleading statements regarding the nomination of Chrissy Fensore Martinez. Chrissy Fensore Martinez was nominated by the Democratic Town Committee to fill a vacancy on the Monroe Board of Education.
Mrs. Fensore Martinez holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in special education. She has worked as a special education teacher, supervisor, and Director of Special Education in Connecticut for more than 25 years. She is also an adjunct professor in the department of special education at the University of Saint Joseph.
Mrs. Fensore Martinez has recently completed a two-year term as secretary for the Monroe Special Education PTA (SEPTA) and was on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Reading League (formerly The Dyslexia Society of Connecticut).
Two hours before the Town Council was tasked with voting on the nomination for Mrs. Fensore Martinez, she received an email from the First Selectman’s office for a “super casual discussion” with a subcommittee of the Town Council.
This “casual discussion” quickly escalated into an angry cross-examination by Town Council Chairman Jonathan Formichella. The behavior exhibited by Jonathan Formichella was unprecedented and deeply concerning.
Mrs. Fensore Martinez was not made aware that Mr. Formichella was an attorney, and that he would be questioning her about “exhibits” and Facebook posts that he had collected before the meeting.
Mr. Formichella questioned Mrs. Fensore Martinez’s work for an agency that supports children with special needs and claimed that would disqualify her from serving on the BOE.
However, the Monroe Town Charter is very explicit that the only conflict is if the candidate works for the Monroe School system. Mrs. Fensore Martinez does not work for Monroe Public Schools. Her agency supports towns and cities across Connecticut and Vermont. Monroe is not assigned to her.
Mrs. Fensore Martinez was also informed she would be held to a new standard that has never been used before. This standard involved not only her employment but the employment of her spouse, Jim Martinez, as well.
However, Mr. Martinez’s employment as a school administrator in another district had no bearing on his ability to serve when the Town Council voted unanimously on his approval to fill a vacancy a few years ago for the same position on the Board of Education.
Chrissy Fensore Martinez would bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board of Education. It is not the role of a few Republican Town council members to decide which Democrats they want to serve in seats owned by the Monroe Democratic party.
If elected officials continue to use intimidation tactics this will only function to chase away qualified individuals from serving.
Editor’s Note: Alan Vaglivelo is a Democrat currently serving on the Monroe Board of Education.