Until Sept. 14, Miller-Driscoll Building Committee members never swore oath to town

The Miller-Driscoll Building Committee has been active since 2012, but its members are just now getting around to being sworn in, town records show.

Though all have now taken an oath to serve the town ethically, as late as Sept. 14 not a single building committee member — including Chairman Bruce Hampson  — had been sworn in as a member, records from the town clerk’s office show.

“I take full responsibility for not ensuring that everyone on the building committee was sworn in or received a copy of the Wilton Ethics Code prior to donating their time to the Miller-Driscoll project,” Mr. Hampson said in an email to The Bulletin on Tuesday.

Mr. Hampson also said many of the members of the board had previously been sworn in for other town posts, which may have led to some confusion.

After consulting with Town Counsel Ken Bernhard, Mr. Hampson said he was confident “no conflicts exist, [and] no ethics violations occurred” in the Miller-Driscoll building process.

According to Mr. Hampson, town counsel is sure this “administrative oversight does not impact on the good work and countless hours spent by committee members in assessing the needs at the Miller-Driscoll School,” he said.

The committee most recently proposed a $50-million renovation of the Miller-Driscoll school. The plan was consequently endorsed by the Boards of Education, Finance, and Selectmen.

Wiltonians who did not vote on the project after the Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 23, may do so on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 9 to 6.  Residents may also vote by absentee ballot, available at the town clerk’s office.

Consequences?

Though a failure to be sworn in does not invalidate the actions of the board under Connecticut and Wilton legal codes, it points out a lapse in the committee’s administrative oversight.

Under Connecticut statutes, laws requiring municipal board members take an oath are only applicable to the Boards of Selectmen, Education, and Finance. Outside of those boards, the state statutes refer to a given town’s municipal codes.

Wilton’s charter indicates that “All elected and appointed officers and members of the boards of the Town shall swear or affirm the faithful performance of their duties…”, but fails to indicate any consequence for those who do not.