Fairfield RTC leader steps down to focus on refugee work

Photo of Josh LaBella
From left, State Rep. Laura Devlin, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, (DVA) Director of Projects and Operations Joe Danao, State Sen. Tony Hwang, Fairfield Veteran Alex Plitsas, with State Reps. Brenda Kupchick and Cristin McCarthy Vahey.

From left, State Rep. Laura Devlin, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, (DVA) Director of Projects and Operations Joe Danao, State Sen. Tony Hwang, Fairfield Veteran Alex Plitsas, with State Reps. Brenda Kupchick and Cristin McCarthy Vahey.

Contributed photo

FAIRFIELD — The chairman of the Republican Town Committee is stepping down, citing his professional life and unique side job requiring more time.

Alex Plitsas announced in an email this week that he was resigning as the RTC’s chairman following the election of the new chairman at the RTC’s next meeting on Dec. 7.

He noted he had been promoted at the firm he works at and has also been “completely overtaken” by the evacuation efforts happening in Afghanistan, a mission he is assisting the federal government with.

Therefore, Plitsas said, he does not have the time needed to run the organization and support candidates. He said the next RTC meeting is on Dec. 7, adding he viewed Sarah Matthews as the right person to lead it going forward.

“She is exactly what we need and she has my complete support,” he said. “I hope that you will give her your support too.”

Over the phone on Wednesday, Plitsas said he first started thinking about stepping down as chairman in the beginning of September, when he realized the evacuation of Americans and their allies in Afghanistan, which he has been involved with coordinating, was not going to end any time soon.

“I started informing some of the senior elected Republican officials and then a handful of Democrat elected officials that I’m friendly with, that was probably going to be in a couple months,” he said.

Plitsas, the former vice chairman of the RTC, took over the top role approximately 11 months ago. At that time, Jack Testani, who was originally elected as chairman, asked to switch jobs.

Another email was also sent this week, announcing Testani will be stepping down as vice chairman at the December meeting.

That email from Plistas and Pamela Iacono, the RTC’s executive director/candidate recruitment, offered support for Chris Tymniak to serve as vice chairman.

“Many of you already know Chris, a former member of the RTM, former selectman, and currently serving in the appointed position of town treasurer,” they wrote. “He has a wealth of knowledge about the state election system as well as a former aide to Governor Rell.”

Plitsas said he is proud of his time on the RTC’s executive board, and the work he was able to help facilitate. He said the focus of that was systematizing data such as lawn sign information, voter and donor contact information, as well as introducing applications and data storage.

“A lot of the things I felt were missing were necessary to kind of bring our campaigning into the future,” he said, later adding the RTC broke a state record for fundraising this year.

With all that, Plitsas said important work is taking him away from the RTC.

First, he was given the role of principal, industry director for aerospace and defense at Providence Consulting Group.

“At the same time, this Afghanistan effort popped up too,” he said.

Plitsas works as a member of Human First Coalition, which sees him and others assisting the U.S. Department of State with the coordination of evacuations from Afghanistan. The process started in August after the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the country in the wake of the U.S. withdrawing troops.

“It’s been pretty wild,” he said. “We’ve helped (the State Department) so far get 20,000 people out.”

Plitsas said there are still approximately 100,000 people who need to leave the country, and the work will continue until that goal is achieved. Between the two jobs, he said he is working between 16 and 18 hours a day.

Plitsas said he will still remain on the RTC as a member but will not be in any executive position.

joshua.labella@hearstmediact.com