Bridgewater's iconic first selectman Bill Stuart announced Wednesday he will not seek another four-year term in office in November.

Stuart has held the reins of government for 30 years in this small, bucolic town. He has often been a subject of controversy but, as the bumper sticker on his car reads, "This is my Town."

"I'm not going to run again," Stuart said Wednesday. "I might have run for another term but George Allingham has been ruthless in coming after me over the last few years and Bridgewater doesn't deserve to be continually dragged through the mud."

Allingham, the town's former Board of Finance chairman, and for decades before that fast friends with Stuart, first raised questions about Stuart's management of town finances in 2008.

Over the years since, there have been ongoing lawsuits and accusations brought against Stuart by and regarding the Allingham family.

New Milford attorney Paul Garlasco and Stuart have had a running feud involving lawsuit and ethic charges. In July 2012, the FBI raided Bridgewater Town Hall, seizing documents. That investigation remains open.

Stuart. a native of Bridgewater and a graduate of New Milford High School, feels good about his tenure overall and where his town stands today.

"I'm leaving the town in great shape," Stuart said Wednesday. "Recreation, the senior center, town facilities, the highways all are in great shape. The town's in the best fiscal shape it has been in in all my years in office."

Stuart said he is happy fellow Democrat Curtis Read is running for first selectman of the town. Read now serves on the Board of Selectmen.

"With Curtis Read running, there's a bright future ahead for the town," Stuart said. "I've been waiting for someone to come along who can keep moving the town forward.

"With his experience and business knowledge," he said, "Curtis will do just that."

For an updated story and a retrospective on Stuart's long tenure as first selectman, see the July 19 edition of The Spectrum and visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322