We live, work and play in Fairfield, but how much do we really know about how the town works? Who are the elected officials who make sure our town stays on track? Know Your Reps has put together this simple organization chart to show you who does what.
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
The three-member Board of Selectmen (BoS) is the executive branch of Fairfield that recommends and approves town policies, goals, budgets, and board/commission appointments, among many other things. The BoS is headed by the First Selectman, who is effectively the “mayor” of Fairfield and a full-time, salaried employee. The other two Selectmen hold unsalaried, part-time positions. The town charter requires that there be “party balance” on this board – in other words, no more than two Selectmen can be from the same political party.
The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) is the town’s legislative body. It is the equivalent of a “Town Council”. In addition to enacting town ordinances, the RTM hears and votes on town budgets, considers special appropriations and capital projects, votes on collective bargaining agreements, and addresses a myriad of other issues affecting the community. RTM members are the direct representatives of the people of Fairfield and, as such, town residents are encouraged to turn to their district RTMs as their first point-of-contact for addressing concerns about the community.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
The Board of Education (BoE) is the governing body that oversees the town’s public school system and – through regular public meetings – provides a forum for the public, school administration, and teachers to share information, discuss key issues, and air grievances. The BoE steers the schools’ mission and strategic planning, establishes school policies, oversees capital projects and key contracts, approves annual budgets (which account for about two-thirds of the town’s total annual budget), and makes high level personnel decisions, such as the hiring of the superintendent of schools.
BOARD OF FINANCE
The Board of Finance (BoF) oversees the town’s financial management, planning, and reporting. Two of its primary responsibilities are recommending town budgets for RTM approval and supervising outside audits of the town’s finances. It also holds public hearings on key financial issues affecting the town, considers special appropriations, approves bond issues, and establishes tax mill rates, among many other important financial oversight duties.
TOWN PLAN AND ZONING
The Town Plan and Zoning Commission (TPZ) hears and approves applications for residential and commercial building projects, and oversees the development of a master plan for the town, including design of public spaces, local roads and bridges, and other structures. The TPZ’s decisions can have a significant and lasting impact on the character of the town, as well as the health and sustainability of its tax base.
Many years ago Fairfield constables were full-fledged law enforcement officers, but today their role is strictly an administrative one. Constables serve papers primarily on behalf of the Fairfield probate court, but also on behalf of the town and other entities issuing subpoenas and legal notices, e.g. tax executions and evictions. Constables receive a small stipend for this service.
The Town Clerk maintains town records and provides a wide range of services, including administering absentee ballots, providing polling location information, issuing dog, game, and marriage licenses, and conducting land record searches.