Editorial: Get it together

First the Board of Finance is called before the Freedom of Information Commission for an improperly put-together agenda.

Then we find out members of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee were not sworn in until last month, and had not signed their ethics agreements either, despite working together for several years.

Now we learn a building committee vote taken by email earlier this year was improper. Common sense would tell us such a private vote is ill-advised, but the Freedom of Information Commission has confirmed it. All votes must be taken in public, even those following an executive session.

Finally, the Wilton Council on Ethics recently posted a meeting notice with no time given. The meeting was canceled and then re-scheduled and properly noticed.

These lapses are troubling and town officials need to take steps to correct them.

In a small town like Wilton it is easy to say, “I know this person, I trust they wouldn’t do anything intentionally wrong.”

And that is probably true, but it is not an excuse. Nor is the fact those serving on the town’s boards and commissions are volunteers. We thank them and value their service, but that does not relieve anyone of the necessity to follow state rules and regulations.

Gone are the days when we could do business on a handshake. We live in a world of technicalities, and when we don’t cross our T’s and dot our I’s, it can lead to some real headaches.

For example, Wilton attorneys spent months last year working out easements in Wilton Center that should have been conveyed decades ago to clear the way for the Yankee Gas expansion. That was time and money that could have been saved but for past lapses.

The town does a pretty commendable job in noticing public meetings. Although the town is not required to post meeting notices online, they are usually on the town’s online calendar, but not always. Agendas and minutes are also posted on the town website, wiltonct.org.

Honest mistakes happen, but these issues must be resolved. At the very least, chairmen of Wilton’s boards, commissions and committees should be made aware of FOI regulations and given the proper assistance, when needed, to comply with them.