Severance Package Explanation Raises More Questions Than Answers

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To the Editor:

The recent statement from Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick regarding her severance package raises more questions than answers. Those questions relate to Ms. Kupchick’s judgment, competency, and honesty. And her continued unwillingness to apologize for screwing up. 

In an email to residents, Ms. Kupchick sought to explain the severance by blaming her staff. Ms. Kupchick asserts in 2021, her former HR chief approached her with changes to a 2016 benefit policy, designed to address challenges attracting senior level talent.  In her email she implies she inadvertently approved the 2021 policy without noticing that it was changed to provide severance benefits to “elected” officials – i.e., herself.

Public documents on the town website present different facts, showing Ms. Kupchick approved the change to grant severance to elected officials on 11/25/19, her first day in office. The 2021 policy meant to solve the town’s recruiting problems contained only minimal benefit changes. If Ms. Kupchick is relating what she believes to be the truth, this means she unwittingly approved not one, but two, policies without carefully reading or understanding the implications of either.

Ms. Kupchick claimed she “didn’t question the package’s consistency with prior practices for First Selectpersons.” Are we to believe Kupchick failed to recognize the departure from past practice – even though any comparable payment to her predecessor would have been made under her watch, and from her own department’s budget? 

It shouldn’t be a controversy that an elected official doesn’t get severance – no other town in Connecticut does this. Why should Fairfield? It would be nice if an elected official finally accepted responsibility for their actions and apologized. We endured four years of Ms. Kupchick blaming others in weekly emails. She still doesn’t realize that approach is a losing one. 

Scott Bisang
Fairfield, CT