MATTHEW KNICKERBOCKER

First Selectman (Incumbent)

 

Matt brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position of First Selectman. Prior to his election in 2009, his private-sector career spanned 30 years in senior-level corporate executive positions. His corporate background includes extensive experience in general management, budget development, contract negotiation, managing customer service call centers, human resource management, information technology management and logistics.

 

Matt began his public sector career in 1999 when he was elected to the Bethel Board of Education. He was reelected to the position several times and served a total of 10 years on the school board, seven years as its chairman. During that time, he led the board through two major school renovations as well as a top-to-bottom curriculum realignment.

 

Upon being elected to the position of First Selectman in 2009, Matt went to work quickly to address several critical problems. To date, more than half of Bethel’s roads and streets have been repaved. Heating plants have been replaced in several school and town buildings as part of a comprehensive energy management initiative, and Bethel became one of the first towns in the state to install a municipal solar farm to cut electricity costs. A sewer project in the Stony Hill neighborhood that had been stalled for several years was put back on track and completed. The expansion of the Bethel Public Library, delayed due to cost escalations, was completed without the need for further taxpayer dollars. He spearheaded the renovation of the Bethel water department, improving service and water quality by constructing new storage and pumping facilities, refurbishing aging wells and installing new ones, and creating a 20-year utility capital plan to keep the system financially healthy and capable of serving a growing town.

 

The most important accomplishment during Matt’s tenure has been the vast improvement in the town’s financial outlook. Shortly after taking office in 2009, the town’s bond rating was downgraded to “negative watch” due to a low fund balance and heavy losses in the town’s utility operations; today that rating stands at AAA, the highest possible. The utility departments are operating efficiently, and the town’s General Fund balance shows a healthy unreserved balance.

 

Matt is also very active in regional and state activities. He is the past chairman of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments and a current member of its executive board; trustee with the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA), a member-owned, nonprofit insurance company that provides liability and workers compensation insurance to over 130 Connecticut towns and cities; member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), as well as chairman of CCM’s legislative subcommittee on transportation and infrastructure; and a member of the board and executive committee of the Council of Small Towns (COST). CCM and COST both provide support services to member towns, including employee training, legal advice and lobbying activities on issues that affect Connecticut’s municipalities.

 

Matt and his wife Adrienne are Michigan transplants who have lived in Bethel for more than 35 years. Their two adult children, Alyssa and Devin, are both graduates of Bethel Public Schools. Alyssa is now a writer who lives with her husband and three children in Suquamish, Washington, and Devin is a corporate attorney living in Seattle, Washington.