The following was issued as a press release from the Office of the First Selectman:
"I would like to address the r (“CFO”), and the circumstances leading up to , as First Selectman on behalf of the Town.
To address any concerns that the CFO may have been engaged in illegal or unethical conduct, or was asked to leave because he discovered illegal or unethical conduct, let me be clear – to the best of my knowledge, neither one occurred.
Towns and cities across the country are facing issues that require a shift in direction in how to compensate employees, contain costs, and manage funds and finances in order to continue to flourish. Fairfield is no exception. As First Selectman, trying to plan for the future of our community and its continued excellence, I determined it was in the best interest of the Town to evaluate our approach and consider a change.
After reviewing these issues with Mr. Hiller, we came to a mutual agreement that the settlement approach was the best resolution for everyone. It acknowledges Mr. Hiller’s extensive work for this Town and allows him to evaluate other options, while providing transitional guidance to the Town. It also allows the Town to move forward and develop other aspects of the department which are important for the future of our community’s financial well-being.
Concerning the CFO’s temporary absence from work, when I considered that it was in the best interest of the Town to make a change, and I presented the CFO with a number of possible avenues, our outside legal counsel advised that it was best for the CFO not to be at work during the time he was considering his options. That is the reason the he was placed on administrative leave. There was no wrongdoing, or suggestion of such. I believed then, and do now, that following legal counsel’s advice was the prudent thing to do under the circumstances. Reports of the CFO being “escorted” out of the building are simply not true.
It is the practice of this Town, and most others of which I am aware, not to comment publicly on personnel matters. There are many good reasons for this practice, not the least of which are the privacy expectations of the employee, and that job expectations and an individual’s performance are generally private matters between any employee and his supervisor. In the private sector, there are statutes prohibiting employers from publically discussing an employee without their permission. Although we in the public sector are not bound by the same statutes, they do help define the way we deal with information regarding employees.
Some have questioned the First Selectman’s authority to enter into an agreement with the CFO that transitions him out of the position somewhat earlier than he had planned, under terms that were fair to him and reasonable from the employer's perspective. During the process, I sought legal advice on this issue from a firm experienced in municipal labor matters and was advised by independent outside counsel that the First Selectman in fact has the authority to enter into this agreement. I have reviewed this advice with the Town Attorney and he also confirms that the First Selectman has the authority to enter into such an agreement.
In hindsight, had I been able to know the questions that have been raised since I made this decision and acted on it, I might have shared the information in this message at an earlier time. I remain committed to transparency and collegiality in government, and will take the lessons learned here to do better in that regard.
It is my sincere hope that this helps address all concerns and ends the speculation regarding the CFO so we can move forward from this point with the important business of the Town."