Letter: GOP played politics in filling first selectman's job

Not even one week had gone by when Jim Baldwin was on the attack. People in Fairfield expect and deserve better than this approach to our government.

The town's top Republican, Jim Baldwin, has it wrong again. The Democrats proposed and then elected Mike Tetreau to serve out the remaining five months of the first selectman's term. Democrats selected the most qualified successor they could find. In contrast, the Republicans placed their petty, party politics ahead of good government.

Mike Tetreau's credentials are impeccable. He is a native of Fairfield who has served with distinction on the RTM, the TPZ and most recently, the Board of Finance. Mike is a graduate of Roger Ludlowe High School and Princeton University.

Republican Selectman Walsh's stonewalling delayed the most qualified and willing person to assume the mantle of first selectman for 30 days. In contrast, the Democrats have consistently taken the higher road on filling vacancies. When Ralph Bowley's slot on the board of selectmen needed to be filled, the Democrats were poised to appoint Kevin Kiley, a Board of Finance member with a long and distinguished record of service to our town. The Republican Town Committee backed Walsh, and Democrats Ken Flatto and Sherri Steeneck graciously allowed Walsh to serve out the remainder of the Bowley term.

When the shoe was on the other foot, Baldwin and Walsh protested the Democrats' choice of Tetreau. We don't need a place holder, we need a true leader.

Thank goodness Sherri Steeneck stuck to her guns as Jim Walsh haphazardly threw out a dozen names of Democrats, who he never bothered to ask in advance, to serve as first selectman. The list included lawyers with litigation pending against the town, a citizen who resided in Florida half the year and even my own name. Obviously, this was just a stalling tactic.

The process for choosing an interim first selectman was clearly laid out in our town charter and the state statutes. The Republicans blocked Mike Tetreau's appointment for 30 days, but in the end, the Democrats chose the best candidate.

Republicans Baldwin and Walsh believe they ought to have the right to have their party's choice made a Selectman and that they should also be entitiled to prevent the Democrats from doing the same.

Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Walsh have the wrong focus on our town government. They should not put their petty politics ahead of the town's best interest. Such "leadership" serves no one well. May we move forward for all our town's citizens and allow our democratic process and town charter to prevail.

Susan P. Barrett