Fairfield Charter Revision: What’s on the Ballot?


Campbell Treschuk, Photography and Social Media/Polls Editor

On November 8, 2022, in addition to elections for state offices and Congress, Fairfield voters will also be able to decide something on the local level this year—the proposed revision of the town charter.

This fall, culminating the yearlong revision process, the seven-member Charter Revision Commission put the proposed changes to the Board of Selectmen, who approved them by a 2-1 vote to go on the ballot. The changes are presented as a single question on the ballot, with a simple yes or no response.

There are many changes to the charter in the proposed version. Significant ones include:

Fixing the size of the RTM, the town legislative body, at 40 members and 10 districts. The RTM currently has 40 members, but according to the latest charter, can have up to 56 members.

Reducing the number of town constables (who serve in administrative law enforcement positions) from seven to four, and making them appointed by the Board of Selectmen.

Changing the provision for a vacancy from the Board of Selectmen, and creating a process where a replacement member is appointed until the next election instead of holding a special election.

Removing the requirements for the town Director of Public Works to be a professional engineer registered in the state, and for the Director of Health to be a licensed physician.

Changing the town budget process and establishing joint budget meetings between the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen, who will then propose a budget to the Board of Finance.

Other changes are included in the proposed charter as well. The vote has gathered both support and opposition in Fairfield, with signs on both sides springing up around town. 

Vote Yes Fairfield (voteyesfairfield.com), the main group supporting the charter revision, say that “updating our town charter means a more responsive government and a 21st Century Fairfield for all of us.”

Fairfielders for Good Government (fairfielders4goodgovt.org) is the main group opposing the charter revision. On their website, they state, “the proposed changes in how we govern our town that are on the ballot in November, and how they are presented to the voter, are the result of a process that was simply not good enough for anyone who cares about Good Government in Fairfield.”

Fairfielders for Good Government opposes having the revisions as just a single question on the ballot, saying that other towns have split charter revisions into multiple questions. They also oppose changes like limiting the maximum size of the RTM and reducing the number of constables.

Conversely, on their website, Vote Yes Fairfield claims that the revised charter would give citizens and office holders the ability to better navigate the government and increase accountability, citing changes that include eliminating duplicate budget presentations and increasing professional standards for hiring department heads.

Whatever the outcome, the vote on Tuesday will be important for the future of Fairfield’s municipal government.