Selectman: Building committee make-up not mandated

Though the make-up of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee ran contrary to a town process once approved by the Board of Selectmen, First Selectman Bill Brennan said last week the Bonded Capital Projects Process was never a mandate, and was abandoned some time ago.

Town records show Wilton’s capital projects process was approved at a Board of Selectmen meeting on Aug. 6, 2007 after also being reviewed by the boards of finance and education. Its use was discontinued after its initial implementation during a capital project at the high school, Mr. Brennan said.

The process was deemed unworkable during that project due to its overly bureaucratic approach to the committee process.

“There was nothing sinister” about how the building committee was made-up during the Miller-Driscoll process, Mr. Brennan told The Bulletin Friday, Dec. 19.

The first resident to bring this document to the public’s attention was Curt Noel, who presented it at the Monday, Dec. 15 Board of Selectmen meeting.

“This was specifically drawn to keep town officials, employees, and the like off the building committees,” Mr. Noel said at the time. He argued that the increased price of the Miller-Driscoll school project was in some part due to the committee’s make-up.

“I have very real questions about the performance of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee and whether the people that were on there, should have been on there.”

“The record here is that this started at $5 million, then it was $23 million, and now we are at $50 million. I don’t think a lot of that money has anything to do with educating kids.”

Relative to the document’s regulations, only five of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee’s 12 members would have been named to the committee appropriately.

The document recommends only residents of Wilton be named to such a committee, while members of any board with “approval or review responsibility” should be excluded; including members of the boards of selectmen or finance.

Mr. Brennan disputed the project was ever budgeted at $5 million, and said “we wanted representation of the other boards … for liaison support.”

Since it is a complex school project, Mr. Brennan said representatives from the school district and board of education were there for “professional guidance.”