Ten Minutes With Betsy Browne
Fairfield’s Town Clerk
Photo by Douglas Foulke
Betsy Browne has been town clerk since 2005, and if you don’t know her by name, you would certainly recognize her on Memorial Day, sitting atop one of the floats in the parade, a brunette with a big smile, waving to her constituents. Growing up in Fairfield, Browne always wanted to be in community service. A graduate of Notre Dame and Sacred Heart University, she lives in Fairfield with husband Tom and her Westie, Bert. We got a chance to learn a few new surprising things about one of our elected officials.
Why did you want to be town clerk?
I love my hometown and its history. I enjoy community service—interacting with and helping people—and am very organized. So if you combine all that, it’s a perfect fit.
What do you like best about the job?
The variety—every day is different.
What’s the most difficult part?
When it seems everything hits at once. A lot of what we do is in compliance with statutory deadlines, and there are days when it seems that half a dozen things are due all at once. It’s a lot of prioritizing and juggling.
What’s your personal motto?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I was a Fairfield beach-sticker girl. Beach stickers only cost $4 then. They’re now $20.
What scares you?
Clowns! Remember when that clown would appear on streets in England? Judge Dan Caruso would send me photos just to drive me nuts.
What don’t you eat?
Strawberry shortcake with gobs of whipped cream.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to still be town clerk. I will be president of the New England Association of City and Town Clerks next year so I hope to use the knowledge gained from that experience to continue to advance my office.
Now that the 375th excitement is over, what fun things are planned for Fairfield?
Plans are well underway for the Memorial Day weekend activities. On Saturday morning at South Benson Marina, we have the Memorial Sea Ceremony at which we honor our war dead. It is a very moving ceremony. I think the entire town lines up along the Post and Old Post Roads to watch the largest Memorial Day parade in the state.
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I can’t use a manual can opener. I’m a lefty and it just doesn’t work! I can adapt to anything in the right-handed world but that.
In the movie of your life, who would play Betsy Browne?
If you weren’t Fairfield town clerk, what would you be?
An English teacher. I love diagramming sentences. I am also a voracious reader. If I find an author I enjoy, I will read everything I can by him or her then move on to another one.