To the Editor:
I am writing to express my concerns about potential ethical conflicts within the town’s governance. Recent board and commission appointments, employment engagements, and contract awards suggest a disregard for universally accepted standards of conduct, separating private interests from conflicting with public interests.
Shortly after Bill Gerber’s election as First Selectman, it came to my attention that an offer of employment was extended to his wife, Jessica Gerber, within the Town of Fairfield public school system. This raises a direct conflict with the standards of conduct outlined in our Charter, as the First Selectman position involves authorizing financial recommendations for the Board of Education, creating a conflict of interest.
Additionally, the consideration of a town contract at the recent Board of Selectmen meeting, for a company where Mr. Gerber’s adult son is employed, Grow America, raised concerns about ethical separations of influence in town governance. Failure to recognize this conflict before allowing the bid submission to proceed and be placed on an agenda questions the administration’s commitment to impartial decision-making.
Furthermore, early appointments to town boards and commissions, specifically those of Brian Vahey and Nicholas Leeper, the husbands of State Representatives Cristin McCarthy-Vahey and Jennifer Leeper, who both serve on the First Selectman’s transition team, further compromise impartiality.
Fairfield is still recovering from past corruption scandals, and these questionable appointments undermine efforts to rebuild public trust. Failure to adhere to conflict-of-interest policies in transparent decisions raises concerns among residents about the ethical integrity of town leadership.
I contacted the First Selectman directly but received no response from him. Mr. Gerber, I hope this letter prompts your reflection on these matters and encourages corrective action to address these inherent conflicts. Your prompt attention to these concerns and a comprehensive response are appreciated.