Fairfield elections maintain town body majorities
FAIRFIELD — While Brenda Kupchick’s victory in the first selectman race flipped the town’s leadership Republican, most town bodies retained their majorities.
The Board of Selectman remained Republican, with Republican Tom Flynn and Democrat Nancy Lefkowitz securing the two selectman seats along with Kupchick. Incumbent First Selectman Mike Tetreau did not win a seat.
Kupchick earned 10,140 votes, Flynn gained 8,913, Lefkowitz totaled to 8,484 and Tetreau had 7,394 votes.
Flynn, who currently chairs the Board of Finance, said he’s excited for this new challenge.
“It’s bittersweet to leave the Board of Finance to go to the Board of Selectmen,” he said. “I look forward to supporting Brenda’s vision.”
For Lefkowitz, who had hoped to serve with Tetreau, the victory was not what she had planned. But she is ready to take on the job.
“I’m grateful to Mike for his eight years of service, and I look forward to carrying on some of that legacy,” Lefkowitz said. “But it’s also a time to heal, bring the community together, work on some of the political divisions and bring civility back into the discourse.”
The Board of Finance maintained its Republican majority, with Republican incumbent Mary LeClerc and Republican newcomer Jack Testani winning. Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Zezima lost her seat to Democrat Lori Charlton by only 92 votes.
Flynn’s seat on the Board of Finance will also need to be filled, now that he’s been elected to the Board of Selectmen.
The Board of Education, meanwhile, kept its Democratic majority. Democratic incumbents Jennifer Maxon Kennelly, Christine Vitale and Jessica Gerber won re-election, along with Republican incumbent Trisha Pytko and Republican newcomer Bonnie Rotelli. Republican Suzanne Cox-Testani did not win the seat she sought for the first time, with Rotelli ahead by 343 votes.
The RTM also maintained its Democratic majority, bringing the seat balance to 22-18.
According to the Registrar of Voters, 16,711 Fairfielders cast a ballot in the election. On average, roughly 43 percent of registered voters in each district voted.
This year’s election was controversial on many fronts, with party politics coming out in force in response to the town’s fill pile scandal.
The issue took centerstage in August when two town employees and Julian Enterprise’s co-owner were arrested for mismanagement of the fill pile.
Joseph Michelangelo, who served as the town’s public works director since 2012, is accused of conspiring with Scott Bartlett, the town’s superintendent of public works and Jason Julian to allow the company to dump truck loads of contaminated waste into the pile.
Julian then resold some of the contaminated soil as clean fill for construction projects in the town. After testing 60 sites at parks, fields and playgrounds, the town identified eight areas that need to be cleaned up, a million-dollar process.
The issue quickly became a partisan conflict, with Republicans assigning blame to the Democratic first selectman’s leadership and saying it was time for a change. Democrats, meanwhile, called it a political weaponization that was blowing the issue out of proportion, citing again and again advisories from the state Department of Health saying the fields were safe for use.
Now the voters have decided, and Fairfield’s officials, both incumbent and newly elected, are ready to get to work. They will be sworn in on Nov. 25.