Since taking over the majority on the Representative Town Meeting six years ago, Fairfield Republicans have leveraged their leadership position to effectively limit spending and initiate course corrections which arguably ought to have been enacted a decade (or two) earlier. The Republican-led RTM became the de facto final arbitrator of the town budget and was the driver behind a transition to a private sector model of defined contributions for town employees’ post-retirement benefits.

Beginning in early spring each year, RTM Republicans have spent weeks judiciously reviewing the town’s proposed budget in order to take on the unpleasant but necessary task of making reductions. By contrast, RTM Democrats argued each and every year that no adjustments should be made to the first selectman’s budget apart from those made by other town boards. As much as they would now prefer to rebrand themselves during the election cycle as fiscally conservative (or at the very least fiscally responsible), it would be a difficult case for them to make to any taxpayer who has paid attention to the budget proceedings between 2010 and 2014. I must exclude here the 2015-16 budget as it was rendered artificially low as a result of an off year cycle of the town’s debt service, which serendipitously preceded elections by only five months.

In spite of a record of legitimate fiscal responsibility and accomplishment, RTM Republicans have been limited in what they have been able to do because changes enacted by its members are in most cases “reactive.” In most cases, the RTM can only react to what comes before it. Proactive change needs to come from the top.

With that said and with the elections before us in November, Fairfield has an opportunity make a course correction which will enable that proactive change. The challenge is difficult, but the solution is simple. I urge everyone to support Chris Tymniak and Laurie McArdle for selectmen.

Tom McCarthy

RTM District 8