First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker was elected to the office of First Selectman in November, 2009. Matt has been active in Bethel’s civic life for many years, as a volunteer youth coach with the Bethel Parks and Recreation Department and as a member of the Bethel Jaycees, where he served as President from 1994-1995. Prior to his election to this office, Matt was a member of the Board of Education from 1999 to 2009, serving seven years as Chairman.
Matt also works in the town of Bethel’s interests at the regional and state legislative levels. He is a former member of the state legislature’s MORE Commission, which advises the legislature on issues pertaining to regional efficiencies, and is currently serving the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) as a member of the education subcommittee and as chairman of the transportation subcommittee. From 2012 to 2014 Matt served as chairman of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO) and is currently the Secretary of the Housatonic Resource Recovery Authority (HRRA), the regional recycling agency for Western Connecticut. He also served as the first chairman of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WCCOG), a new regional planning authority formed in 2015, representing 18 towns and cities in Western Connecticut. Matt co-chaired the committee charged with writing the bylaws for the new regional organization and overseeing its development.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Post University. Matt and his wife Adrienne have two adult children, both graduates of the Bethel Public School system, and two grandchildren.
Selectman Richard Straiton
Richard has lived in Bethel all his life. He attended Bethel grammar schools and went on to Henry Abbott Technical School where he graduated from the Electrical Department, graduating with the Danbury Housatonic Wiring Association award. Upon graduation he joined his father in the family business. He worked as an electrical and plumbing apprentice and went on to receive his license in both fields. Upon the retirement of his father he continued the business for 16 years. During this time he obtained his Home Improvement Contractors license, which he still maintains today. Fifteen years ago he went to work for Bethel Health Care and Rehabilitation Center as the Physical Plant Director where he still works today.
Rich served six years in the Connecticut Army National Guard and was discharged with the rank of E7 Sergeant.
Rich has served on many building committees in the Town of Bethel. He served on the Permanent Building Committee for many years. He chaired the building of the Bethel Middle School and chaired the renovations of the old middle school which is now the Clifford J. Hurgin Municipal Center. When it came time to renovate the Frank A. Berry School he was there to serve. He also had the distinction of being on the "first" committee to renovate the Bethel High School. Recently, Rich was asked to serve on the Public Site and Building Committee and the newly organized Library Building Committee for the Town of Bethel
Rich also serves as a Justice of the Peace and a Constable for our Town.
He is a member of the Danbury Exchange Club and serves on their Board of Directors.
Along with his wife, Sharon, he attends the Ridgebury Congregational Church in Ridgefield and is a Trustee.
Rich and Sharon have been married for fifteen years and are the proud parents of their blended family - Lori, Joe, Lisa, Keith, Laura, Mark and Andrew. They also have seven grandchildren - Trevor, Amanda, Sara, Megan, Steven, Joey and David.
Selectman Paul Szatkowski
Selectman Paul Szatkowski and his wife Diana are 37-year residents of Bethel. They are the parents of three children namely: Paul, Susan and Michelle. All three children were graduates of the Bethel Schools and have graduated from various universities with advanced degrees. Both Paul and Diana are active members of St. Mary's Parish.
Paul has an undergraduate science degree from Ferris State University. He is a retired executive from the biomedical industry in which he has extensive management experience in the areas of global business development, product development, strategic market planning and sales. Within the scientific community, Paul has been acknowledged as a "Fellow" by the American Institute of Chemists for outstanding contributions in chemistry. He has several scientific publications found within the biomedical community.
Paul Szatkowski has served the town publicly on many committees and commissions. He was a member of the Permanent Building Committee, Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Bethel Middle School Building Committee, and Vice-Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Berry School Building Committee, former Vice-Chairman of Ad-Hoc Bethel High School Building Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Public Site and Building Committee, and member of the recent Charter Revision Commission. Paul is a member of the Bethel Republican Town Committee and currently serves as Vice Chairman.