Diane Goss Farrell is serving her second term as First Selectwoman of Westport. She was first elected to the position in November 1997, after serving on the Westport Board of Finance from 1993 to 1997.
Diane has been a resident of Westport since childhood. She attended Westport public schools as well as Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield Massachusetts. In 1977, she received a B.A. in American Government with a Minor Degree in Elementary Education from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. Diane also attended The Women's Campaign School at Yale University, and subsequently was invited on two occasions to be a guest speaker at the school. She is married to Karr Winslow Farrell, Jr., and together they have two daughters Hilary and Margaret.
Her business and community experience includes positions as Account Executive and Media Planner for Benton & Bowles, Inc. and executive positions with community organizations, such as Nursing And Home Care, Inc., Westport Young Woman's League, the Coleytown Elementary School Parents Teachers Association, United Nations Hospitality Committee and the Westport Ice Skating Committee.
Since she first took office, Diane has:
Promoted communication among fiscal decision-makers
Provided leadership for the Town's progress in financial areas
Organized a financial summit, in which the Board of Education, Representative Town Meeting, Board of Finance and the public assembled to evaluate the town's fiscal picture.
Together with the Board of Finance, created a financial model viewed favorably by Moody's Rating Service.
Her administration has stressed improving communication with Westporters. During her first term in office, Mrs. Farrell instituted:
Weekly brown-bag luncheons for Westport citizens
Production of a Town web site
A public cable channel
Annual Town Meetings
Transportation and traffic congestion are issues of concern for Westport's constituents. Diane has been an activist on behalf of the region and town. Because of her role, she was appointed to serve on one of three strategic planning committees that prepared for a statewide transportation summit. As a result of the summit, serious attention is finally now being given to the problem of Fairfield County's congested roadways. In February 2002, Diane Goss Farrell was elected chairman of the South Western Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (SWRPA MPO). The SWRPA MPO is the federally mandated organization designated by the State of Connecticut as the forum for cooperative transportation decision-making.
Diane has also been active in preserving open space for the Town. Purchases have included the Baron's South property, Allen's Clam & Lobster House and the Hyde Lane property adjacent to Long Lots Elementary School. She also established a Land Acquisition Committee to investigate the purchase of additional available land for public preservation. She has been an advocate in support of the Kelda land purchase, which covers land in more than 20 towns in Southwestern and Northwestern Connecticut. Over half of the Kelda lands lie in the midst of two of seven areas in the state that The Nature Conservancy has identified as Connecticut's highest quality landscapes.
In May 2000, Diane authored a comprehensive long-range planning document, "Westport 2000 and Beyond." This document details both current and long-range perspectives on issues such as environment, land use, public safety, infrastructure, health and human services, public recreation, taxes, information technology, and regional issues such as transportation. This document was subsequently updated to "Westport 2001 and Beyond" and it now serves as a context for all public discourse, appropriation discussions, and present and future policy decisions. Designed as a living document, Diane plans to update and revise this document as needed to reflect changing public circumstances and priorities.
Diane has also been elected to the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM). CCM, an association representing Connecticut Municipalities, provides a wide array of services, including advocating for Connecticut towns and cities, at the General Assembly, the Executive branch, regulatory agencies, and the courts.
She has been the recipient of awards from Leadership America Program, Foundation for Women's Resources, American Association of Advertising Agencies, and the University of Southern California Business School. Diane was also recently awarded the 2003 Paul Harris Fellowship Award from Westport Sunrise Rotary, and the 2003 Upper Fairfield County Distinguished Leadership Award from the Anti-Defamation League.