Fairfield BOS all male for first time since 1981
After a quick vote by the board on Dec. 7, Bateson took the oath of office from Town Clerk Betsy Browne, and then took his seat at the table.
The Republican Town Committee Monday elected Bateson, Representative Town Meeting member, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Selectman Laurie McArdle. First Selectman Mike Tetreau and Selectman Chris Tymniak will vote on Bateson’s appointment when it meets Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Bateson wasn’t the only person seeking the nod from the GOP. Two-term RTM member William Perugini was also nominated at the RTC meeting. The vote was 53 to 17 in Bateson’s favor.
“I’m thankful for the RTC’s endorsement,” Bateson said. “I look forward to serving on the Board of Selectmen, if I get elected. And I’d like to thank Bill for making a race of it.”
A lifelong Fairfield resident, Bateson was previously a member of the Water Pollution Control Authority before being elected to the RTM. While on the RTM, he has served as majority leader. He said he will bring dedication and a knowledge of the issues to the selectmen. “I pride myself of being cognizant of the issues,” Bateson said, adding he is committed to holding the tax rate steady.
While McArdle’s replacement must be a Republican, that person must now be approved by the Board of Selectmen. Tetreau is a Democrat and Tymniak a Republican. Traditionally, both parties have agreed to accept the other’s preferred replacement, but that was not the case when the first selectman’s spot needed to be filled and Tetreau;s name submitted. Under the charter, the slot must be filled within 30 days. If not, all elected town officials from that party vote on a successor, which was the case for Tetreau.
Tynmiak, in nominating Bateson, said they need “someone to hold Tetreau’s feet to the fire,” and who has institutional history and knowledge of the town and the respect of department heads so “they will call you back immediately.”
“We also need someone who can hear BS,” Tymniak said. “There’s a lot of BS brought up at the meetings. We need someone with the moxie to call that out.”
Tymniak said Bateson has been advising he and McArdle on Board of Selectmen agenda items since they were elected.
“Finally, we need someone who’s not afraid to stand up to the special interest groups,” Tymniak said. “Ed’s body of work indicates he’s willing to do that.”
Perugini, nominated by fellow RTM member Laurene O’Brien, touted his expertise at motivating others, and his volunteer work in town.
“I feel I’m uniquely qualified to bring a very valuable dimension to this office,” he said. “As the vice president of sales for a “cutting edge” orthopedic manufacture, “I do more with less, and will bring that to the town.”
Since the 1981 municipal election when Jacquelyn Durrell, a Republican, was elected to the Board of Selectmen, there has always been at least one woman on the board. Durrell went on to become first selectman.