Al Alper, chairman for the past nine years of the Republican Town Committee, announced Sept. 18 he is stepping down.

Alper indicated in a statement he is stepping down in order to devote attention to being a candidate for the office of selectman and serving on the that board.

“It is not fair for the organization to have their chairman running against their endorsed candidate,” he said in an interview following his announcement.

Josh Coleman and Lori Bufano are the endorsed candidates for selectman.

Alper will be replaced by the vice chairman, Chris Finkelstein, current vice chairman of the Board of Education, on a temporary basis until the RTC elects a new chairman, he said.

“I feel it is important to lend my voice to the conversation as a member of the community and in the audience of the organization; unencumbered by the responsibilities of Chair, untethered from the demands that would otherwise have silenced me, unbound by the duties to defend decisions I cannot support,” Alper said in his statement.

In the statement, he alluded to many victories for the party, “whether they be the contests that ushered in the transitioning of the CT Senate from Judy [Freedman] to Toni [Boucher], and House seat from Toni to Gail [Lavielle], or the challenges right here at home on nearly every major Board or Commission, Team RTC marshalled their efforts to ensure November favored us at the ballot. On the national stage our candidates enjoyed handsome victories here at home but for a few occasions as well. Their campaigns knew they had a reliable team in Wilton who would work hard and deliver local victories; and almost without exception you didn’t let them down. For these reasons, outside of Wilton other Town committees call us Free Wilton in your honor.”

Social and personal victories were not in short supply either, he said in the statement. “The Wilton RTC undertook a significant shift as we expanded our volunteerism into the community, kicking off and/or participating in events such as the Easter Egg Hunt, the Wilton Town Wide Cleanup, Toys for Tots, stocking the Food Bank, raising money for the Heat Up Fund, collection coats for the underprivileged, and the list goes on. Our good work, entitled “Our Principles in Action,” benefited thousands of Wilton families and, for many of us who participated, we found the great personal joy that only charity can bring. Your good work is what makes Wilton home, creating a place that draws others in; giving her character and compassion, making a Town into a community, a community into a village, and a village into a neighborhood,” he said.

He expressed gratitude for his years as chairman. He said it is a big task.

“The role and responsibility of Chair is bigger than the man or woman who assumes the title. In fact, it demands they personally be obsequious to the larger Organization and Party. Their voice more a guidepost than a dictate. Their role is to let the organization work its will and crowdsource its decisions, empowering each member to make a difference in his/her own way; giving voice to the larger body politic they represent. When those outcomes run counter to the Chair’s belief or opinion, s/he must support it wholeheartedly, exuberantly regardless. I have spent my time as Chair with these beliefs and executed my responsibilities accordingly.

However, decisions of the organization as of late have left me at a crossroads with a choice to make; to stay on the path of least resistance and remain as Chair, or choose the path I believe is right. A path that would add diversity of thought and an opportunity for reflection to the organization, and the public square. It is because I believe so strongly in the role, and the responsibilities of the position that I am compelled to resign, effective immediately as chair.”