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James Palen for Darien's Board of Finance


Meet James "Jim":

Jim Palen currently serves as the Chairman of the Town of Darien Board of Finance, the body responsible for approving most budgets and expenditures in the town as well as designing the tax and financing plans that fund our town and school operations. He has served as Chair of the Board of Finance since 2021, serving as Vice Chairman before that and as a member of the board since 2015. Before joining the Board of Finance, he served 8 years on the RTM including as the Chair of the Finance & Budget Committee which is responsible for analyzing and reporting on financial and budgeting matters for RTM.

Mr. Palen also currently serves as the Chair of the town’s Audit Committee, has served on various building committees, and served on the negotiating team for numerous town and school union contracts.

About Jim:

His career includes over 26 years in investment banking, primarily focusing on the transportation and aviation sectors. He is currently a Managing Director at Jefferies LLC, the largest independent investment bank on Wall Street, where he co-heads the aviation and aerospace banking and capital markets franchise, including serving clients involved in passenger and cargo airlines, aviation leasing companies, private aviation platforms, and aerospace service providers. Before joining Jefferies, he held similar roles at Credit Suisse and Bear Stearns, including specializing in municipal finance for the transportation and infrastructure sector.


Mr. Palen and his wife Hallie, along with their three children who all attend or have graduated from Darien Public Schools, have lived in Darien for 18 years, during which he has been very active in the community. He has coached football, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse for his children’s team, currently serves on the leadership board of the Darien Junior Football League, and has volunteered to teach boating safety classes in town with the Darien Sail & Power Squadron. Mr. Palen also served on and was Chair and Vice Chair of the Darien Republican Town Committee for over 8 years.


Jim’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in mathematics and economics from Ithaca College and a Masters of Arts and Sciences in Economics from Georgia State University where he also served as a research assistant and teaching assistant for the Policy Research Center and began work towards his PhD in Economics.



  • Jim and his family are avid boaters spending significant time enjoying Darien’s coastal waters and those of the greater Long Island Sound and northeast.


  • "There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.”

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