Fairfield RTM recount changes some numbers, but not results

Old Town Hall in Fairfield, Conn.

Old Town Hall in Fairfield, Conn.

File photo / File photo

FAIRFIELD — A recount of last week’s election for three Representative Town Meeting districts showed slightly different vote tallies with the same end results.

Democrats will control the town legislative body with 23 members, while Republicans will be the minority party with 17.

The recount looked at close races in districts 2, 6, and 9. While some results changed from what was originally reported by a handful of votes, the resulting winners remained the same.

In District 2, Republicans Karen McCormack and Jeff Steele got the two highest followed by Democrat Cindy Perham. Democrat Hal Schwartz got the fourth highest with 683, but only by one vote.

The closest race, District 6 saw all candidates receiving between 411 and 477 votes. The recount found Democrats Lisa Havey, Steve Berecz and Andrew Graceffa and Republican Hannah Gale got the most.

District 9 was split with Democrats Dru Georgiadis, Christine Brown and Margaret Horton and Republican Kelly Scinto getting elected to the positions.

The slight Democratic majority comes after the RTM spent approximately a year with a 20-20 split in terms of party membership — the first time such a thing had happened in recent memory. The split happened when two Democrats changed their party affiliation to Republican.

First, Gale changed her party membership in late December of 2020. At the time, she said the switch was a result of the Connecticut Democratic Party’s push for legislation to remove the state’s religious exemption for vaccination mandates.

Gale recently faced criticism when she retweeted a meme depicting a swastika that compared the vaccine rollout with Nazi Germany.

Tameisha Powell-Dunmore followed two weeks later on Jan. 11. She said she changed parties because she was “berated by some Democrats” for posts she made on Facebook about the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and for supporting the first selectwoman’s Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program.

Powell-Dunmore, who also resides in District 6, did not win a seat — receiving 411 votes in last week’s election.

Jill Vergara, the Democratic caucus leader for the RTM, was not immediately available for comment.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Republican Caucus Leader Pam Iocono said the party affiliation split is only one different than it was when Democrats had a two seat majority after the last election. She said she does not think this election had any “resounding messages.”

Iacono said she hopes this term will bring a true effort on behalf of both parties to legislate in a bipartisan fashion.

Iacono said Republicans will likely continue to support First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick’s initiatives to transform and modernize town government while making it more efficient.

“We want to look at being able to keep the tax rate low or near flat — the same goals that we had the last term that we were able to achieve,” she said. “We want to maintain that. We want to maintain the quality services that we have but we want to do it at a minimal price for the tax payer.”

Iacono said there are challenges the town will face this coming term. Specifically, she pointed to issues with the Penfield Pavilion, which was not built to federal standards, and continuing fallout from the town’s fill pile scandal.

“Right there it puts a wrinkle into how we’re going to balance this all out on the backs of the citizens of Fairfield, which is really unfortunate,” she said. “Those are going to be our biggest challenges. How do you manage these massive costs, due to this huge scandal that we are all dealing with, and still maintain the level of service quality that we want at a reasonable tax rate?”

joshua.labella@hearstmediact.com