Wilton first selectwoman to get full salary after giving back $30K

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice's annual salary will be reinstated to $139,511 at the start of the next pay cycle.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice’s annual salary will be reinstated to $139,511 at the start of the next pay cycle.

Patricia Gay / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — After nearly one calendar year since forfeiting $30,000 from her salary, Wilton First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice will be paid in full starting at the next pay cycle.

The rest of the Board of Selectmen held a special meeting prior to the regular session on June 7 to vote on whether to reinstate Vanderslice’s full salary. Her annual pre-pandemic salary was budgeted at $139,511, but she agreed to give back $30,000 from that budgeted total in July to help offset other COVID-related expenses in town, the selectmen said.

After lauding her leadership, they voted unanimously to reinstate her full salary.

Roughly a dozen residents also made their support known for their first selectwoman during public comment.

Wilton resident Jason Cutler applauded Vanderslice’s efforts over the past 15 months, saying she had “performed brilliantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Another resident said he was proud that Wilton has a female role model for his daughter to look up to.

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** Salary was $139,511.00. Voluntary $30,000 reduction taken July 2020.

Resident Angie Bertolino even called for Vanderslice to receive a raise for his efforts.

“Her leadership has never faltered,” Bertolino wrote to the board.

Board of Finance Chairman Jeffrey Rutishauser also chimed in, vouching for the first selectwoman’s leadership and uncanny work ethic. He said Vanderslice had worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep everyone safe.

“The first selectman (position) does not get overtime, which would have been warranted,” Rutishauser wrote. “She has earned this salary several times over.”

Board of Selectmen and town CFO Anne Kelly-Lenz, who said she was speaking on behalf of every department head, noted she saw how much work Vanderslice has done over the past year and that she deserves to return to her budgeted salary.

The CFO recalled when the first selectwoman first took office, noting that giving money back to the town has been a decision Vanderslice has made before.

“When she started, it wasn’t voted on to reduce her salary, but she was giving money back to the town,” Kelly-Lenz said. “... What may look as somewhat seamless in Lynne’s leadership, a lot of work has went into it.”

Selectman Ross Tartell said it was “remarkable” to hear so many positive reviews of a town leader, and Selectwoman Deborah McFadden concurred.

The residents who wrote letters, according to McFadden, tend to sway from very liberal to very right-leaning, she explained, which is a testament to how wide Vanderslice’s base is, despite any party affiliation.

“She was like a war-time president for the town,” Selectman Joshua Cole said, contending that she led Wilton through its darkest moments in years.