Experience in government is important to many voters. But Fairfield voters next week are being asked to choose what kinds of experience are best for the man they choose to fill the town’s top job over the next four years.

The municipal election Tuesday pits incumbent Democrat Michael Tetreau, 63, seeking election to a second term after years of service on other town boards, against Republican challenger Chris Tymniak, 36, who has held a variety of appointed government posts, but is finishing his first full term as an elected Representative Town Meeting member.

Also on the ballot will be candidates for the Board of Education, Board of Finance, Town Plan and Zoning Commission and the RTM, although this year the number of seats on the legislative body drops from 50 to 40 after a new redistricting plan was adopted earlier this year.

Following the last debate between Tymniak and Tetreau, sponsored Monday by the Fairfield Rotary Club, Oscar Recalde, a local resident who works in marketing and communications, said the forum “threw things back up in the air for me to contemplate.” But, he said, that’s what he was hoping the debate would do, not just for himself, but for others, too.

“The bottom line was our goal was to provide some information as a public service,” Recalde said. “It’s for those sitting on the fence.”

More Information

WHERE TO VOTE

Polling stations for the town election Tuesday are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Here are the polls by voting district:

District 1: Dwight School, 1600 Redding Road

District 2: St. Pius School, 834 Brookside Drive

District 3: Fairfield Woods Middle School, 1115 Fairfield Woods Road

District 4: Stratfield School, 1407 Melville Ave.

District 5: Fairfield Warde High School, 755 Melville Ave.

District 6: McKinley School, 60 Thompson St.

District 7: Holland Hill School, 105 Meadowcroft Road

District 8: Fairfield Ludlowe High School, 785 Unquowa Road

District 9: Sherman School, 250 Fern St.

District 10: Mill Hill School, 635 Mill Hill Terrace

Voters unsure of where to cast their ballots can check www.fairfieldct.org/wheredoivote

A local contractor, Samim Topel, also was in the Rotary audience. He said he hasn’t made up his mind yet who he will support at the polls.

“It’s helpful,” he said, of the debate. “It’s about as local as it gets.”

Tetreau’s running mate is incumbent Sheila Marmion, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Selectmen when Cristin McCarthy Vahey was elected as a state representative last year. Running with Tymniak is Laurie McArdle, also finishing her first term on the RTM.

“We entered into this campaign knowing that the battleground for 2015 was the Board of Selectmen and the RTM,” Republican Town Committee Chairman Jamie Millington said. He said GOP candidates walked and knocked on more doors than he can ever recall in the last 20 years, and made over 10,000 phone calls.

Millington said Tymniak and McArdle took a leave from their jobs to campaign full-time. “Their positive message for Fairfield’s future has been well received,” he said, and feedback is “exceptional.” He also said they raised more money than Tetreau and Marmion and there has been a demand for lawn signs.

The party’s RTM candidates, he said, “are strongly united on their message and are highly coordinated in getting that message out.”

Heather Dean, chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee, is just as enthusiastic about the Tetreau-Marmion team.

“The feedback for the Tetreau-Marmion 2015 campaign has been great,” Dean said. “Mike has a fantastic track record of success. They are both well liked throughout the district.”

Dean said voters appear pleased with Tetreau and Marmion’s performance. “We’ve received tremendous support throughout the campaign, which has increased this final week,” she said. “We can’t wait for Tuesday.”

Republicans hold a slight edge in registered voters with 10,463, over registered Democrats, with 10,086. However, the majority of Fairfield voters — 15,199 — are unaffiliated with any political party.

RTM changes

With the redistricting, Districts 4, 5, 6 and 9 lean Democratic, according to traditional voting trends based on registration, while Districts 1, 3, 8 and 10 lean toward the GOP. Neither party holds a sizeable advantage in Districts 2 and 7.

As for the legislative body, not only has the number of RTM members been reduced, the district boundaries were changed, and 17 members are not seeking re-election. Others may be running in a new district because of the changes to the voting map.

Of the 12 RTM Democrats seeking re-election, 10 are in new districts. There are 21 new Democratic RTM candidates this year, but the party is not fielding any candidates in Districts 1 and 10, two districts where registered Republicans heavily outnumber Democrats.

On the GOP side, 17 incumbents are seeking re-election in new districts, but only three in the same district they were in two years ago. And one incumbent, Laurene O’Brien, not only has a new district, but recently switched from Democratic registration to Republican. There are 19 new GOP candidates.

But even some of the “new” candidates have previously served on the RTM, so their names may be familiar to voters.

School board battleground

The Board of Education race appears to be a battleground, with five seats up for grabs being fought over by nine candidates. Only three from the same party can be elected, where Democrats currently hold the majority.

Incumbent Democrats Phil Dwyer, Jessica Gerber and Jennifer Maxon-Kennelly are running again, along with Matthew Hutzelmann. Republicans on the ballot are Anthony Calabrese, Trisha Pytko, Jason Li, Tricia Donovan and Laura Bernaschina.

The GOP school board candidates have split into two slates — one faction includes Calabrese, Pytko and Li, while Donovan and Bernaschina comprise the other group.

The Fairfield Education Association, the union representing local teachers, has endorsed Dwyer, Gerber, Maxon-Kennelly, Calabrese and Pytko.

The Fairfield Taxpayers group, which has stated it does not endorse candidates, took out a full page ad in another weekly paper that appears to lend support to Hutzelmann, Li, Donovan and Bernaschina. Two of those candidates, Li and Hutzelmann, posted on the taxpayers’ Facebook page that they do not want or accept an endorsement from the group.

The taxpayers’ ad, also posted on its Facebook page and website, lists the school board candidates and notes which have been endorsed by the FEA. “How can it be good for our town to elect Board of Education candidates endorsed by the school union?” the ad reads, and makes note of the three candidates not endorsed by the FEA. “The Union does not want you to vote for these candidates. But Fairfield Taxpayers believes it is essential to good government that our elected officials must be free from undue influences by public-employee unions, which exist to serve the self-interests of their members rather than the best interests of our Town and State,” according to the ad.

Finance contest

The race for the Board of Finance seats has been low-key, though four of the five candidates running took part in a League of Women Voters forum.

Four candidates, Republicans Jim Brown and Jim Walsh, both incumbents, and Democrats Kevin Hoffkins and Kevin Lennon are running for three open seats with six-year terms on the panel, which is currently controlled by Republicans. Democrat John Mitola is running unopposed to finish out the remainder of a term that expires in 2017.

TPZ race

The Town Plan and Zoning Commission candidates for a four-year term include Meg Francis and Matthew Wagner, both Republicans. Wagner is the TPZ’s current chairman, while Francis serves as an alternate. Democratic incumbent Mark Corcoran is seeking re-election, and Christopher McAleese is looking for his first term on the board.

Republican incumbent Jaci Coleman is running for a two-year seat unopposed. Running for an alternate’s position is incumbent Thomas Noonan, a Republican, and Democrat Jeffrey Ng.

Mailers have been sent out to registered voters in town informing them of their new voting districts. Anyone unsure can check www.fairfieldct.org/wheredoivote or call the Registrars of Voters’ Office at 203-256-3115 before heading to the polls.