It has been one month since Paul Hiller was walked out of Town Hall and placed on paid administrative leave by First Selectman Mike Tetreau. To date, not one elected Republican official has been told the reason why Mr. Hiller was placed on paid leave, nor have the taxpayers been informed of reasoning behind this abrupt change in town hall. According to the Town Charter, the First Selectman shall inform any member of the Board of Selectman the reasoning behind any action taken upon their request. On day one, Selectman Kiley asked our first selectman why Mr. Hiller was put on leave -- 30 days later, he still has not received an answer.
What is most disturbing is not only that Mr. Tetreau would treat Mr. Hiller in this manner, but also why he won't explain the reason behind this major personnel decision. A paid administrative leave is something that employees are normally placed on when their conduct or actions are being looked into. A paid administrative leave implies that the employee on paid leave has done something wrong. Yet, in the separation agreement with Mr. Hiller, Mr. Tetreau showers him with praise (this is public record for anyone who wants to verify). Thus, Mr. Hiller appears to have done nothing wrong. In my nearly 15 years in government, I have never heard of anyone being placed on a paid leave in order to negotiate his or her "retirement." Treating employees in this manner is a disgrace, and Mr. Tetreau's handling of this situation is pathetic.
Paul Hiller has served our town well. He served honorably on the Board of Finance for 18 years and as CFO for the past 12 years. To have his "retirement" handled by the First Selectman in this manner is shameful and entirely unacceptable. The abrupt manner in which this incident took place and the paid leave with no explanation is sure to be a red flag to the major bonding agencies, which issue our town's credit rating. Over the years, Mr. Hiller had cultivated a strong working relationship with them and was instrumental in preserving our AAA rating. Now, Mr. Hiller cannot even tell them why he is leaving due to a confidentiality agreement in his separation package. What is Wall Street going to think about Mr. Hiller leaving, and what is it going to think about Mr. Tetreau's underhanded management style? We may be in big trouble.
When Mr. Tetreau ran for first selectman in 2011, he promised an administration of transparency. Where is the transparency in this?
Mr. Tetreau, you should be ashamed of your treatment of Mr. Hiller. You owe Mr. Hiller a public apology. Also, as per our Town Charter, you also still owe Mr. Kiley an explanation for a paid leave. Most importantly, you owe it to the people of Fairfield to conduct our town business in a transparent manner as you promised.