'It has been an honor': Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe won't seek reelection

Photo of Katrina Koerting
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe speaks on the announcement that Westport Schools will be closed for the unforeseeable future during a press conference Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at Westport Town Hall in response to the Covid-19 virus pandemic in Westport, Conn.

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe speaks on the announcement that Westport Schools will be closed for the unforeseeable future during a press conference Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at Westport Town Hall in response to the Covid-19 virus pandemic in Westport, Conn.

Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

WESTPORT — Jim Marpe has announced he won’t seek a third term as first selectman, saying it’s important to see changes in leadership.

“It has been an honor to serve my community as its chief elected official for the past seven years, and I deeply appreciate the bi-partisan support and encouragement I have received throughout that time,” he said. “While the Westport Town Charter does not place term limits on our elected officials, my experience in the private sector taught me that every organization benefits from regular changes in senior leadership.”

Marpe, a Republican, was first elected in 2013. He won again in 2017. Before that, he served on the Board of Education from 2005 to 2012, serving as vice chairman from 2007 until he left.

He’s lived in Westport since 1989 and spent more than 30 years with Accenture, a global management consulting and computer technology services firm, retiring as senior partner in 2002.

“I want to thank the voters of Westport for allowing me the opportunity to have the special privilege of serving them in the first selectman’s office,” Marpe said. “I remain humbled by, and grateful for, the responsibility you have granted me.”

Throughout his campaigns and time in office, he’s committed to what he has described as a “citizen-centric” and professional management style, something he said he’ll continue for the remaining seven months of his term.

“I will continue to focus on leading Westport safely out of the pandemic tunnel we have been in for the past year, as well as achieving or launching the initiatives that I have described in various budget and State of the Town presentations,” Marpe said.

Looking back on his time in office, he said he’s proud of what his administration has accomplished or started, including the town’s COVID-19 response, municipal improvements, addressing social justice concerns and being fiscally responsible.

“We have prioritized the delivery of superior services at a predictable cost to the taxpayer,” he said. “As such, I am very proud that we kept the mill rate stable throughout my entire term in office.”

A key part of the overall success is the “professionalism and commitment to serving our residents” shown by those who work for the town and schools, Marpe said.

“It is also the result of the remarkable dedication and creativity of our dozens of citizen volunteers and elected officials,” he said. “I am so fortunate to have led a team of employees and residents that is the envy of my counterparts in other communities.”

Neither the Republicans or Democrats have announced who will be on the ticket this November for the top spot in town. TJ Elgin filed to run for first selectman as an independent and as a libertarian.

State Sen. Tony Hwang, who represents Westport, commended Marpe for his leadership in the town.

“Westport is incredibly fortunate to have such a collaborative, even keel statesman serving at the helm of their town government,” he said in a statement.

He thanked Marpe for his leadership and friendship and wished both Marpe and his wife Mary Ellen “continued health and happiness in the next stage of their service to Westport.”

“Jim Marpe has worked with residents and experts from all backgrounds to put Westport on sound fiscal footing, maintaining the highest education standards, while building on our town’s unique and wonderful quality of life,” Hwang said. “Westport is on a positive path forward, even in the face of the challenging and trying times, thanks to the collaborative leadership of Jim Marpe.”