Wilton Republicans pick their candidates for November

Despite a challenge from attorney Michael Powers, after an attempt to prevent nominations from the floor failed, the Republican Town Committee nearly unanimously voted for Lynne Vanderslice to run for re-election as first selectman. In a roll-call vote, the tally was 29 votes for Vanderslice, one vote for Powers, with one abstention at at the Republican Town Committee meeting on July 23 at the town hall annex.

With that, the committee set its slate for the municipal election Nov. 5:

First Selectman: Lynne Vanderslice.

Board of Selectmen: Josh Cole.

Board of Finance: Warren Serenbetz, Peter Balderston.

Board of Education: Mandi Schmauch, Jennifer Lalor.

Planning and Zoning Commission — four-year term: Jake Bittner (unaffiliated), Matt Murphy, Melissa Rotini (unaffiliated), Richard Tomasetti.

Planning and Zoning Commission — two-year term: Jill Warren.

Zoning Board of Appeals — four-year term: Libby Bufano, Anthony Cenatiempo, Monty Du.

Zoning Board of Appeals Alternate: Gerry Holdridge.

Board of Assessment Appeals: Dan Falta.

Constable: Ray Tobiassen, Chris Gardner, Lianne Acosta-Rua.

Immediately after the meeting, Powers, who nominated himself to run for first selectman, said he would go to the town clerk’s office on Wednesday morning to file paperwork to get on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate and would investigate the requirements for initiating a primary.

“By tomorrow afternoon I will be on the ballot,” he said.

Vanderslice had announced her intention to run for reelection in June but needed the committee’s endorsement to run on the Republican ticket.

Vanderslice was nominated by state Rep. Gail Lavielle, who is a member of the RTC. She said this is “a precarious time in the state … there are a number of people in power wo do not share the interest of the people in Wilton.

“We need someone who stares this reality in the face. Politics should not get in the way nor should self-promotion.”

Numerous members of the committee spoke on behalf of Vanderslice. Among them was Don Sauvigné who said, “We’ve had some very good leaders in this town but I don’t think anyone has done as good a job as Lynne Vanderslice. … Lynne has won the hearts and minds of Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike.”

After the meeting, Vanderslice said, “Four years ago I had a vision, I detailed actions and I delivered. I will continue to move the town to grand list growth, [work on] the environment, and outreach to the community.”

Later, in an email, she added, “I appreciate the comments made in support of my reelection and the work of my administration. I want to recognize and thank the town employees who collectively contributed to those successes.”

Rule changes

The early part of the meeting was taken up with 15 proposed rule changes for the committee.

The most controversial — Rule 5 — was one stating that no candidate would be able to place their name in nomination, nor may any candidate second their own nomination.

According to Powers, he filed an injunction Tuesday to stop that change.

“Rules can be created/modified if properly placed on an agenda,” he said in an email to The Bulletin before the meeting.

“However, state rules clearly state that such creation or modification of rules do not take effect until 60 days from when the rule is filed with the secretary of the state.”

“The new rule barred someone from either nominating themselves and they could not second their own nomination. And they wanted this new rule change to be effective immediately tonight. This proposed process violates state and local rules,” he said.

Lalor disagreed that this rule fell under this regulation, however, at the meeting he said he was in favor of eliminating that rule change. When a vote was taken, there were 28 in favor of striking the rule change, none against, and three abstentions.

As it stands, any person may nominate themselves from the floor, with no second to the motion required.

Powers believed that if the proposed rule change was implemented Tuesday night a judge could vacate the entire nomination meeting leaving the RTC with no nominations. Tuesday was the last day a political town committee could nominate its slate of candidates.

After dealing with Rule 5, the committee approved the rest of the rule changes, two of which specified votes had to be taken by roll call. However, the vote for the first nomination — Lianne Acosta-Rua for constable — was taken by show of hands, until it was pointed out the rules required a roll call. This was deemed too time-consuming and so the committee voted to change the rules it had just approved to allow for voting by show of hands.