Kupchick transfers $85,000 to help staff office
FAIRFIELD — First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick has announced the transfer of $85,000 from two vacant positions in animal control and the library to help staff her office “and accomplish other goals to serve our town.”
The transfers were made with the approval of the chief of police and the town librarian, Kupchick said.
Her plans for restructuring the office include making the chief of staff position, recently filled by Republican Jackie Bertolone, a full time job and hiring Democrat Tom Bremer, former chief of staff to former First Selectman Ken Flatto, as chief administrative officer.
In a letter addressed to “Fellow Fairfielders” on Dec. 19, Kupchick said the fund transfer “does not cost the taxpayers any money, it does not cut services to either of these departments, and the reorganization actually cuts town employees by 1.5 positions. I am excited to have a new chief of staff and chief administrative officer to help me with the work of modernizing our town government. One is a Republican and the other is a Democrat. As I said when I was running for office, I am committed to bipartisanship and doing what is best for our town.”
Kupchick, who was elected and sworn in to her first term last month, noted she now manages a town that has over 60,000 residents, a budget of close to $400 million and almost 500 full-time and close to 100 part-time town employees.
“I have listened and learned from thousands of residents over this past year and for many years prior as a state legislator,” the first selectwoman stated in her letter. “The message is clear — our residents want a government that is accountable, efficient, and moving in a positive direction. The public trust was broken by the fill pile scandal and I promised our residents I would fully cooperate with law enforcement and environmental agencies to clean up this mess and restore their trust. Residents also want to see progress in other areas and have asked me repeatedly to make changes to the way our town government operates, build up our economic development, and grow our grand list to stabilize residential taxes.”
Kupchick said a “comprehensive study of best practices and looking at other towns of our size” led to her decision to request the transfer of $85,000 in “unused funds” from two positions that have been vacant for years, one in animal control and one in the library.
Some of the funds will also be used for repairs to Town Hall, she said.
“I also think our town hall, which belongs to the citizens of Fairfield, needs to look more professional to attract new businesses and to be a building that reflects the beauty and desirability of our town,” Kupchick said. “We cannot have chipped paint and floors coming up in offices. We will be using some of the funding to address these issues and other needed repairs.”
She added that she “formally requested the Board of Finance to transfer the unused funds and to hold a public meeting on the issue to ensure there was transparency.”