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Get to Know Fairfield's First Selectman Candidates

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s voters will make an important decision Tuesday: Who will lead the town for the next four years? Democrat Michael Tetreau, Republican Robert Bellitto Jr. and Independent Hugh Dolan all hope to win the job of Fairfield’s first selectman Tuesday. Here's a primer on the three candidates before you head to the voting booth:

Tetreau has been the town’s interim first selectman since June 8, when a panel of elected Democrats chose him to replace former First Selectman Kenneth Flatto. Before that, he served on the Representative Town Meeting , the Town Plan and Zoning Commission and most recently on the Board of Finance. Before taking over the job, he worked as the sales vice present of William Raveis Real Estate.

Bellitto is currently vice chair of the Board of Finance and has served on that board since 2007. He is also a member of the Fairfield Woods Middle School and North Stratfield School PTAs. Professionally, he runs a law practice with his father, based on Black Rock Turnpike.

Dolan has never held elected public office, though he did mount a run for the state comptroller’s office in 2010. He has worked as a firefighter in Fairfield since 1991 and before that worked as a financial audit manager and accountant.

All three pledged to keep Fairfield’s taxes affordable. Tetreau has said he would do it through long-term planning to keep the town’s spending in check. Bellitto promised to institute a spending freeze for his first year in office, keeping all “discretionary” budget items to their 2011 levels. Dolan proposed a financial audit that he says could cut $30 million from the town’s $260 million yearly expenses and said he plans to eliminate the town’s debt.

The three candidates also say they have plans to bring more jobs to Fairfield. Bellitto’s idea is to work with the zoning board to create areas of town with fewer zoning regulations to make it easier for businesses to move in without a long approval process.

Dolan said he would pitch Fairfield’s location and schools as a selling point to bring Fortune 500 companies to the town. And Tetreau again said his idea would involve long-term planning, specifically working with the director of community and economic development to encourage a “balanced portfolio” of new businesses.

When it comes to Fairfield’s schools system, Dolan, Tetreau and Bellitto have said the district’s spending, the largest part of Fairfield’s annual budget, must be brought under control. Dolan and Bellitto have suggested combining some town departments with their counterparts in the Fairfield Public Schools central office to limit staff and save by buying in larger quantities. Bellitto and Tetreau say they would work with the Board of Education on compromises, to balance rising taxes with the needs of the schools.

Want to know where the candidates stand on other issues? Send questions to gcanuel@thedailyfairfield.com or ask in the comments, and we’ll post the answers before the polls open Tuesday.

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