Woodbury 1st Selectman William Butterly has passed away

WOODBURY – William “Bill” Butterly, the 1st Selectman of Woodbury, has passed away at age 75.

His brother posted on Facebook that Bill Butterly died early Sunday of a heart attack.

Selectman Barbara Perkinson tells FOX61 that she was notified of Butterly’s passing shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday.  She is now Acting First Selectman, a post she can hold for a maximum of 30 days, according to statute. She says the Board of Selectman – which had just 3 members before Butterly’s passing – has scheduled a meeting for 9 a.m. on Monday. The remaining board members will meet in Executive Session, where they’ll get legal counsel on filling the vacancy.

Bill Butterly was a well known and outspoken public figure in his hometown.

In 2016- he was the center of a controversial public protest in which one resident portrayed him as the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin.

His colleagues say he was well respected.

“I like to call him Mr. Woodbury but I guess he was,” says Acting First Selectman, Barbara Perkinson. “He supported everything that was going on in town. He will be greatly missed by everybody. We are stunned at his passing. It was just so sudden.”

Even as the entire town of Woodberry mourns his loss, his friends and colleagues must come together and figure out who is going to fill his vacant position. Currently, Selectman Barbara Perkinson is the acting first selectman. According to Connecticut state statutes, the town has 30 days to fill the vacant position.  If Perkinson fills the vacant position, they will need to appoint someone else to her newly vacant position.

Butterly was in his third term as the small Litchfield County town’s chief executive, a post he was elected to without any party affiliation. He had gained some attention outside of the rural town when he clashed with a resident who had posted a sign depicting him as Stalin.

“There are many  options to us for this position and we just have to find which is the right one for Woodbury,” says Perkinson.

The town will set a date for a special meeting to decide who will fill the position in the coming weeks.

No funeral or memorial plans have been arranged yet.