Wilton first selectman candidate sues town
WILTON — Michael Powers, a petitioning candidate for first selectman, has sued the town, alleging the Board of Selectmen did not, on a number of occasions, follow Robert’s Rules of Order for making a motion and thus they are “null and void.”
Named in the suit are First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice, Second Selectman David Clune and Selectmen Lori Bufano, Josh Cole and Deborah McFadden.
Powers filed the complaint on Sunday.
Powers has applied for a temporary and permanent injunction, claiming 37 of the board’s motions during 2019 did not meet the standard for motions according to Robert’s Rules. As such, he says, those motions must be vacated and future motions must follow Robert’s Rules and other provisions of town policy.
According to Powers, Robert’s Rules of Order outline the steps by which a motion is normally made:
A member makes the motion by saying they “move” a particular proposal.
Another member seconds the motion, although this is not always necessary.
The chair “states the question” of the motion.
Members may then debate the motion.
The chair then puts it to a vote and announces the result of the vote.
According to the court document, the meetings at issue took place:
Jan. 7 and 22.
Feb. 1 and 4.
March 4 and 18.
April 1 and 15.
May 6 and 20.
June 3 and 17.
Aug. 12 and 30.
For the most recent meeting, Powers cites the matter of “townwide bridge evaluation” and “solar update and energy savings,” according to the Sept. 9 agenda.
According to the minutes for Sept. 9, Deborah McFadden made a motion to authorize First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice to execute a contract with WMC Consulting for engineering services for up to $37,000 pending review from town counsel. The motion was seconded by David Clune and the vote was 5-0.
On the solar update, the minutes indicate that after review of the solar installation at Wilton High School, Vanderslice asked for a motion to not file for an extension and pay additional funds to extend the ZREC (Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit) for the high school. Clune made a motion, seconded by Lori Bufano, which was carried 5-0.
Powers did not detail in his complaint how the board violated Robert’s Rules.
According to a video of the meeting, there was considerable discussion of the ZREC issue with facilities director Chris Burney before a motion was made. At which point Vanderslice says, “OK, so we’re all good. Would somebody like to make that motion?”
Clune says, “so moved.”
Vanderslice says, “OK, Dave. Second?”
Bufano seconds. Vanderslice then asks, “any questions, any discussion?”
No one offers any discussion. Vanderslice asks, “all in favor?” As a whole, the board says, “aye.”
Vanderslice then thanks Burney and the board moves on.
The summons has a return date of Oct. 22 and there are no court events scheduled.