Letters to the Editor
First Selectman’s duty
To the Editor:
The controversy over the business structures of the Fairfield Housing Authority (FHA) and the Fairfield Housing Corporation (FHC) were not resolved at the recent Board of Selectmen meeting. It is clear that the Town’s only legal relationship to these entities is appointment of the FHA board by the First Selectman. I am concerned that all of the Selectmen were hearing details of the FHA-FSA relationship for the first time, and the meeting concluded without all questions about these entities fully answered to the satisfaction of the Selectmen or the public.
First Selectman Tetreau has not held the FHA to the level of responsibility to which Town boards he appoints are held. The Town Charter (6.2.B92) states, “All Town …boards appointed solely by the First Selectman shall be responsible to the First Selectman for the faithful performance of their respective duties and shall report to the First Selectman.” FHA is not a Town entity, but the First Selectman’s appointment of the FHA board establishes his inherent responsibility to review FHA’s decision-making at least via periodic reporting. Section 8-43 of State statutes gives the First Selectman the responsibility to remove a Housing Authority Commissioner for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or misconduct in office.” Clearly, the First Selectman has an ongoing duty here.
The First Selectman should require adequate reporting from the FHA so that he can determine if the board he appointed is faithfully performing its duties. If the First Selectman does not agree that he bears any responsibility to assure the faithful performance of the FHA board he appointed, he owes the public an explanation of that position.
The Town Attorney should evaluate the structure of the FHA/FHC and report to the Selectmen in a public meeting so there is complete transparency. The public should direct questions about the FHA/FHC entities to the Town Attorney who should assure that all legitimate questions are answered in his presentation to the Board of Selectmen.
I have no reason to believe that there is any malfeasance or misfeasance relating to Housing Authority entities. The mission of the FHA is an important one that has been well executed by Carol Martin. Operating and organizational transparency, though, require improvement, and the First Selectman needs to assure that the Board of Selectmen and the public are fully informed on the FHA-FHC structure and its operations.
Jan R. Reber
Special Education failure
To the Editor:
My son graduated this June from Fairfield Warde High School. The headmaster, David Ebling, was the best part of the four years we spent there. He was a kind, compassionate, understanding educator whose door was always open and he tried to solve any issue brought to his attention. I wish him all the best in his retirement.
The worst part of our years in high school, middle school, elementary school and the ECC, was special education. My son graduated but he did not get a suitable education. This is a much bigger story than I can tell here because special education is broken nationwide. I will just give you a small bit of our last months in the system of special education.
My son has failed some of his finals every single year in high school and I wanted to prepare him as much as possible so he would be successful. As the third quarter report cards came out I asked for an update of my son’s progress. I didn’t receive the progress report, required by law to accompany the report card, for 3 weeks. When I questioned the information provided, as there were inaccuracies and incorrect or misleading information, I was ignored, misled or disrespected. I spent the last eight weeks of my son’s time in high school, all but removing him from special education because I feared the damage that might be done, trying to get answers to any of my questions and crying.
Mr. Ebling was the only shining light in a dark experience. I am still waiting for an explanation of why the system broke down and collapsed for my son at the end of his high school career. Again I am being given the runaround, not answers. I implore the Fairfield Board of Education to meet with me, hear the story of 15 years in special education and do something about it!
Fireworks a success
To the Editor:
I am writing in response to my letter last 4th of July reacting to the fireworks display in Fairfield. In that letter, I addressed how displeased I was with the Town of Fairfield holding the July 4th Fireworks celebration on a Monday night; July 2nd to be exact. The rain date happened to be set for July 3rd, a much more suitable night which was indeed, odd. I expressed how I believed that this was a shortsighted decision that was done lazily, and did not consider the wants and desires of its residents, but rather the town’s finances.
However, as I sit here writing today, I owe it to the town to express how pleased I was with this year’s celebratory event. The town responded and came through and put on a show that both its residents, and residents from other neighboring towns could enjoy. Most folks did not have to worry about work the following morning and they were free to travel to Fairfield, see family, friends and celebrate like any American should be able to. The ideal summer night.
Oftentimes, in opportunities such as these to openly express opinions, it is important to be consistent. If you are willing to respond harshly or criticize an aspect of society, you should also be willing and prepared to acknowledge when something is done right and express it in the same manner. With that said, after a botched 4th of July celebration in 2018, the Town of Fairfield came through and put on a tremendous event for 2019. Bravo.