Ready to Get Started:
Ceremonial swear-in held
Friday morning at Sullivan Hall
By Mike Lauterborn
(posted to Fairfield-Sun.com 6/10)
Fairfield, CT – Looking dapper in a dark blue pinstripe suit and light blue paisley patterned tie, Fairfield’s new First Selectman, Michael C. Tetreau, was excited about his mission and anxious to get started.
In remarks shared prior to a ceremonial swearing-in at 10 a.m. Friday in a conference room on the first level of Sullivan-Independence Hall, Tetreau said, “It’s like the first day of football. You know it’s going to be tough ahead.”
Among his top initial priorities, the 59-year-old named several items. “The train station is the biggest project ahead, ensuring that it opens on time in October,” he said. “I need to meet with all the department heads and review the impact of budget adjustments by the Board of Finance and RTM -- a July 1st deadline is coming up quickly. I also have have a very important meeting with the rating agencies on July 6. Overall, with the multiple transitions, I want to make sure no one drops any balls and all goes smoothly for the town.”
Tetreau also mentioned his predecessors, commending their service. “I have two big challenges – following Ken Flatto, who was in the position over 10 years and accomplished a tremendous amount over time and, on top of that, following Sherri Steeneck who, in 30 days, set a great example for energy dedication and commitment.”
A Democrat who was officially appointed Thursday, Tetreau will serve at least until the Nov. 8 municipal election, in which he is a candidate.
Many friends and family members packed into the conference room to support and congratulate Tetreau. Among them was his mother and father “Fern” and Rowena Tetreau, godmother Rita Jackson Bradtmuller, brother Jack and Jack’s girlfriend Crissy Sepot. Among town and area officials were State Representative Tony Hwang, Fairfield Fire Chief Dick Felner, Probate Judge Dan Caruso, Town Clerk Betsy Browne, Fairfield Police Chief Gary McNamara and Fairfield Police Lt. Jim Perez.
Standing at a podium at the head of the room, Browne administered the oath to Tetreau and the pair shook hands, eliciting hearty applause and cheers from the gathering. The new first selectman then launched into brief remarks, which included a thanks to his brother Bill, currently serving in Afghanistan, and an old high school friend, Dave Seres, who read online that Tetreau had made a remark about receivers and reminded him that he caught every pass that Tetreau threw his way.
With a smile, Tetreau admitted to having a Twilight Zone moment. “I was looking at my Blackberry just after midnight and saw a congratulations from John Sullivan,” he said. “My immediate reaction – uh, oh, he really is still on the job… then I opened it and saw that it was the one from my high school, not the one we’re all thinking of.”
Tetreau further acknowledged Steeneck, saying she approached her job with a long-term view. “She didn’t dodge any task or activity,” he said, “and put in long hours and worked weekends – down to the very last minute. It’s 4:30 a.m. on her last day and what is she doing? Getting up to buy fruit and water for the DPW. That type of commitment will be tough to match.”
In a general sense, Tetreau said, “Fairfield is a great community. There is so much that is special about this town. I appreciate more than ever the many opportunities that Fairfield has given me, and having a Fairfield education prepared me for the challenges at Princeton University and beyond.”
In conclusion, Tetreau remarked, “There have been a lot of people that have helped me throughout my life and it is time for payback. I am ready to get started and I promise not to let you down. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”