Letters to the Editor: Put up or shut up
The Fairfield Town Charter calls for any vacancy in elected executive town office to be filled by the Board of Selectmen (BOS) until that vacancy can be filled by regular election. Only a vacancy on the BoS itself is excluded from that limitation on BOS power. In other words, no appointment to the Board of Education, the Board of Finance, Planning and Zoning or even Town Clerk will ever stand for more than two years. Only an appointment to selectman will stand for the original term of four years.
The exclusion of the Selectman is, of course, troublesome. Now it has proved to be very costly to the taxpayers, too. Exactly how the exclusion got slipped into the town charter ten years ago when the terms of the Selectmen were changed from 2 years to 4 years is just a little fuzzy. Nevertheless, the exclusion needs to be removed.
All three of the current members of the BOS affirmed, last month, their continued political opposition to opening up of the Fairfield charter to scrutiny or revision. This is particularly disingenuous bipartisanship.
The two Democrats - Kiley and Tetreau - just supported spending some $20K for a special election, petitioned for as allowed by state statute, to get Kiley on the Board. The Republican, Tymniak, has supported spending three times that amount on legal fees to quixotically convince the Connecticut Supreme Court that the town charter is superior to state statute and remove Kiley from the Board..
The Fairfield town charter is a case study in how not to govern a town. There should have been no need for the special election this past June but for the exclusion in the current town charter. We should have voted to fill the selectman seat this November at the regular town election.
The BoS is the only entity which can initiate changes to the charter. They need to do that or stop claiming they are all looking out for the taxpayer.
Put up or shut up.