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Fairfield mayor wants to stop unsupervised spending by office

Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller MICHAEL D. PITMAN/FILE
Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller MICHAEL D. PITMAN/FILE

Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller wants to make sure he and future mayors are held “financially accountable” for any spending on behalf of the city.

The mayor said to City Council and the administration that he wants himself and future mayors to not have unsupervised control over taxpayer dollars.

Miller’s request came while City Council heard presentations for the 2020 budget. The city is projected to spend nearly $75.6 million next year while taking in more than $83.7 million in revenues.

Current policy allows the Fairfield’s mayor to use a city-issued credit card with a $4,500 spending limit, and Miller said that shouldn’t be the case. He said the “mayor should be accountable to council” because they control the city’s purse strings.

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“You can’t get a free lunch by sitting in this seat,” Miller said. “It’s such a privilege to be the mayor of my hometown, so I have to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Council needs to make sure the mayor is fiscally responsible.”

Miller said his monthly paycheck should be what the mayor spends on the office, and calls his policy request a “checks and balances” measure. If he, or any future mayor, wishes to purchase something at the city’s expense, they can do so with their own funds and then expense the cost, he said.

Miller said he refused the mayoral credit card, and his predecessor, Ron D’Epfianio, who is currently a city council member, had the credit card but used it only once. Miller admits he has used some of the mayoral’s budget, but for a couple of events that city officials attended. He said he paid his own way to attend those events.

“It’s another expense that can be cut, that should be cut,” said D’Epifanio.”

The one time D’Epifanio used the credit card, to attract the charity Kicks for Kids to locate in Fairfield, he “felt so terrible about that, and I said I would never use it again,” he said.

Council directed Law Director Steve Wolterman to look into the policy request for consideration at a future council meeting.