Extending the town’s sidewalk system, overseeing roof repairs and sewer projects, making sure the dams on ponds and lakes around town are in good repair, fixing bridges, upgrading old buildings’ energy efficiency, reviewing plans for new developments and reporting concerns to planning and zoning officials — there’s been a lot of different stuff on Charlie Fisher to-do list in over three decades as Ridgefield’s in-house town engineer.

Fisher retired at the end of August — though he may come back and work part-time a little, while the town goes through the process of finding a replacement.

“Probably a good two to three months before, hopefully, we have someone on board,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

The town is currently looking for an outside engineer to fill in and do some of  the work — like reviewing plans from developers, which can’t be put on hold since there are statutory timetables for approval or rejection, once an application has been submitted to planning and zoning.  

Marconi said Fisher may take on some of this work.

“He may have time to do it,” Marconi said. “He’s going to be coming back part-time — no more than 20 hours a week.”

Fisher seems agreeable.

“The thought is to help Rudy out with the many ongoing projects that we have now on a part-time basis until we get caught up,” he said.

Looking back

In a letter to Marconi officially accepting the town’s early retirement incentive program, Fisher looked back on his years with the town — which date back to 1985.

“I am grateful for the opportunity provided to by the town over the past 33 years of service,” Fisher said. “The time spent as town engineer has been both professionally and personally rewarding.”

He reviewed some of what he’d done. This included:

  • “Overall project management” of the town’s last sewer treatment plant renovation — a $12 million project, which was at the time the town’s largest capital expenditure ever;

  • Related to that, Fisher “designed and implemented” a $1.5 million program to reduce “infiltration and inflow” into the sewer lines, which caused the plant to be overwhelmed with rainwater during storms;

  • Fisher “designed and constructed” the town’s last “Main Street streetscape renovation program;”

  • He “reconstructed 10 bridges, and numerous sidewalks, parking areas, roadways, water mains, gas mains, major building construction and other infrastructure improvements.”

  • He managed the care of a wide range of town facilities — buildings sidewalks, sewers;

  • Fisher also “obtained, designed and administered well over $5 million worth of grants covering among other improvements water main installation roadway paving projects and energy saving projects.” Among the grants he ushered in is the Branchville revitalization project currently moving from design and approval to the start of construction.

“I truly hope that I left the town in a better condition than when I first arrived,” Fisher said to Marconi.

While he will be working part-time, the retiring town engineer admitted to a reporter it might be a challenge to deal with a sudden increase in free time.

“Like everybody else, going to do some more traveling,” he said.

“...Then there is the grandchildren. With four total now and all girls they keep you moving!”

Still, retirement will bring a different pace to life.

“Actually, I did tell my wife last night that I was thinking of taking up fishing again,” he said, “hard to guess with a last name like Fisher!”

First Selectman Marconi shared a thought on the retirement of Charlie Fisher, an employee whom he and other town leaders have relied on for so many different things over 33 years.

“His dedication and high performance are a tribute to his career here in Ridgefield,” Marconi said, “and we will miss him.”