FAIRFIELD — Six candidates have been elected to the town’s newly-established charter commission, but one member has said he will be unable to serve on the panel.

Fairfield voters narrowly approved the creation of the charter commission in a referendum election last week. The nine-member panel will review and suggest changes to how town government is organized. The town’s charter hasn’t had a full review since it was adopted 30 years ago.

Of the six members elected, only Tim Martin was on the ballot and received 525 votes. The remaining five members were elected with write-in votes and got a fraction of Martin’s totals.

It took the town clerk’s office several days to confirm the tallies and contact the elected representatives.

Shawn Knox, who was also elected to the School Administrative District 49 board of directors, received 12 write-in votes to be on the charter commission, and Stephanie Thibodeau, a town councilor, received 11 votes.

The remaining three candidates received fewer than 10 write-in votes each. Franklin Bouchard, a professional accountant, got seven votes, while Fairfield Budget Committee member William Bois got six votes and former town councilor Harold Murray had five votes.

Thibodeau and Bouchard were candidates for the charter commission when it was put to voters in a failed referendum in 2014.

William Bois, reached at his home Monday, said he had already told the town clerk that he would be unable to serve.

Bois said he didn’t ask people to write his name in for the commission, but he has been in town a long time and has served on the council and budget committee.

“Generally, I think when some people think of stuff that needs to be done, they think of me,” Bois said.

But since he is spending the winter in Florida, Bois had to turn down the position, even though he thinks the charter needs some changes. In particular he feels that annual Town Meeting doesn’t work well for governing town affairs and the Town Council should be given some more power to make decisions, Bois said.

Town Clerk Christine Keller said that the other charter commission members will nominate and appoint someone to fill the empty seat. The town council also nominates and appoints three members to the commission. Bois is the only member who has declined his seat, she added.

Thibodeau, Knox and Bouchard did not return phone calls about the commission Monday. Harold Murray said he hadn’t researched the subject but knew there were some changes that had to be made.

“I know the charter hasn’t been reviewed in a long time. There are a lot of things that need to be updated,” Murray said.

Commissioners will be sworn in later this month. Suggested changes to the charter will go to voters for ratification in the 2016 general election.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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