Letter: Increase salary to make first selectman positon more attractive


To the editor,

The Town of Beacon Falls has been growing in population and needs to change with the times.

Finding a well-qualified first selectman candidate comes with a cost. The elected first selectman term is two years and comes with no benefits. Someone working a full-time job is not going to quit and run a town for less pay and no benefits. The position’s current salary of $48,000 is perfect for someone who is retired or whose significant other has benefits that can provide for their family.

Have you ever heard the saying “you get what you pay for?” First Selectman Chris Bielik is not in tune with the needs of the town and does not support the residents as any first selectman should. Why did it take weeks to start tornado cleanup?

Several times at public meetings, Bielik gets presented with a question and turns to someone else for an answer. Either he doesn’t know the answer or does not want to face the pressure and criticism from residents.

Many residents have complained at Board of Selectmen meetings that Bielik never replies to their emails or phone calls to address their concerns. Bielik fails to be transparent with residents and likes to give them the typical political run-a-round, hoping they forget.

During public comment at Board of Selectmen meetings, if Bielik doesn’t like the concern brought to the table, he’ll shut the discussion down. Isn’t that against the first amendment where residents “petition the Government for a redress of grievances?”

There is no set plan for capital projects in town. Several roads are falling apart, residents who are still on septic systems want sewers. Bielik has no answers but continues to enjoy his $680 office chair the taxpayers paid for while continuing not to make any valuable accomplishments to benefit the town.

The town will be on the verge of a crisis if Bielik were to run again and get re-elected. I’m no fan of increasing town budgets or taxes, however I encourage the Board of Finance to raise the salary of the first selectman position by at least $15,000 to be in line with other towns near the same population as Beacon Falls. This will make the position more attractive to other candidates making it so we won’t be stuck with another woefully incompetent first selectman.

Shawn Styfco

Beacon Falls

The writer is a member of the Beacon Falls Republican Town Committee.


  1. The positions on the Board of Selectmen are considered part-time, but to the point that younger folks cannot afford to leave their current job, it is difficult to hold this position if your ‘employer’ is not willing to allow for the flexibility needed to do the 1st Selectmans’ job in this 24x7x365 world. I have advocated for years that the position should be changed to full-time with benefits. Back in 2010 or so the Bd of Selectmen were in agreement that the salary should be raised to the mid-$60,000 range. We did not agree on full benefits. Since then the salary or stipend has been raised from the mid-$30,000 to the current $48,000. It is time to get this done and make it $65,000 and full-time, which is more in line with other municipal leaders. I am sure the rebuttal will be that today the 1st Selectman works full-time hours for part-time pay. That is why no one will step up and run for this office. Beacon Falls is a multi-million dollar operation and having part-time leadership is just wrong.

    There is another possible option, hire a full time Town Manager and make the Bd of Selectmen a advisory board reducing their stipends to help pay for the Manager position. Need to check state statutes on this, but worth considering if it is viable.

  2. Well I don’t agree with the attacks on Bielik, I do agree with your main point here. First Selectman is an important role and it would be a great thing for the town to have a diverse group of highly qualified candidates to choose from. The current situation also makes it difficult for younger candidates to run who might bring fresh ideas to the town. Most couldn’t afford to leave a better paying job with benefits if they have mortgages and childcare to pay for and/or need to save for retirement, even if they are passionate about serving this town. The current situation really narrows the scope of who can be a candidate, and that’s never a good thing for recruiting new talent and putting forward the best possible ideas.

    Kristen Jabanoski
    Beacon Falls