First Selectman Michael Tetreau is replacing his chief of staff Thomas Bremer with former Board of Finance member Robert Mayer.

After initially telling the Fairfield Citizen that he had asked Bremer to take on some special town projects in a new role, a formal announcement released Monday makes no mention of that.

"Looking forward, there are significant challenges facing our town in the areas of growing costs in pensions, retiree medical benefits and health insurance," Tetreau said. "We have to balance these cost drivers with the need to minimize the tax burden on our residents. Mr. Mayer has the experience and skills to provide valuable support in evaluating how the town can best address these areas."

Mayer will begin his job on Feb. 21.

"Mr. Bremer has been an invaluable team player whose advice and leadership has been especially helpful during my transition from interim first selectman to first selectman," Tetreau said. He added that he hopes in the near future there will be "another key role" in town for Bremer.

Last Thursday Tetreau had said, "I've asked Tom to take on some new responsibilities ... There are a number of issues and special projects that we haven't had the time to implement, but that he will have time to do if I can free him up from chief of staff duties."

Bremer, a lawyer, is former legal counsel for U.S. Surgical. He joined the staff of then-First Selectman Kenneth Flatto in March 2006, replacing Kenneth Hanson. The current salary budgeted for the chief of staff is $90,022.

"This is the first I've heard about it," Selectman James Walsh told the Fairfield Citizen about Bremer's replacement. "The first selectman has not advised the Board of Selectmen regarding this change."

"I'm sorry for the town to lose Mr. Bremer, who was an excellent public servant and brought a lot of expertise and professionalism to the first selectman's office," Walsh added. "I'm interested in learning more about Mr. Bremer's consultant role since we've never had such a position in the first selectman's office before."

Mayer, a Democrat who served on the Board of Finance from 2003-09, returned the finance board briefly last year to serve the remainder of Tetreau's term when he was named interim first selectman. Recently, according to Tetreau, he has been working as a financial consultant. Mayer is the former CEO and director of Health American, and former chief financial officer and director of Sierra Health Services. A certified public accountant, Mayer received a business degree from the University of California at Berkley.

"His addition provides added strength to the town's financial management team," Tetreau said.

Neither Mayer nor Bremer could be reached for comment.

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