Selectman David Clune was named second selectman in a 3-1 vote Dec. 4 by the Board of Selectmen.
New selectman Deborah McFadden was absent and did not vote.
Clune was nominated for the position by First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, who said he had the right qualifications for the job, including professional management experience and a working relationship with town employees.
Clune will fill in for Vanderslice in the event she is incapacitated or not available. Selectman Mike Kaelin, who was the dissenting vote, questioned how he could do that because he works in New York City.
Clune said he checked with his employer and it will not be an issue.
It’s a critical position, even more critical in Wilton because there is no town manager, Kaelin said.
“What we’ve traditionally done is elected a second selectman who had the most votes from the people of the town,” he said, pointing out he had more votes at the polls in 2015, about 2,800 compared with Clune’s approximate 2,000, and he has served on boards and commissions many years, including being a chairman.
“It’s really the only objective evidence we have of who people in town have confidence about,” Kaelin said of the greater number of votes. “I wouldn’t want to disrespect what the people voted for.”
“I just don’t agree with you that that is the best way to determine who is the right person to step in,” Vanderslice told him, saying the total number of votes could be affected by a discrepancy of turnout between the two elections. She said Clune had the experience and that Kaelin had missed a number of important meetings.
Vanderslice said the position required someone who has CEO-type management experience, knowledge of the current operations of the town, the confidence of the department heads and town employees, the confidence of the residents, a positive relationship with the other boards and commissions, and a commitment to the work of the board.