Alper, Vanderslice say good-bye to finance board
The Board of Finance meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17, was the last for Republican board members Lynne Vanderslice and Al Alper, whose terms end at the end of this month.
After the board addressed all items on the meeting agenda, Alper said he had something he wanted to say to his fellow board members — “I have really thoroughly enjoyed this board,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed everybody on this board — new members [and] everybody who had an opportunity to serve,” said Alper.
“While we disagreed, we have almost never been disagreeable and we’ve done it in a respectful way.”
Alper said the fact that the finance board has been able to “work together cooperatively” has been “a distinct pleasure” for him.
“I’m always amazed … when I look at how all of our boards work — including this board — because you never know the politics of people,” he said.
“Everybody really does work well together to do what they believe is in the best interest of the town.”
When Alper first joined the board in 2007, he said, came with “two high-bar missions” — taxes and transparency.
“I’ve been talking about this for years, as everybody already knows, and executing on that has been my primary directive personally,” said Alper.
“In the way of taxes, I’ve looked at shared services and [user] fees versus broad-based taxation, which is what led me to the effort of participation fees in the school, as well as fees in other areas.”
Alper said the reason he has supported user fees is because “when people who use services pay more for them, they are actually tax relief for everybody else in some form.”
In addition to user fees, Alper said, he has also had success when it comes to transparency.
“The whole idea of getting out there and doing information sessions and putting out longer term budgets and setting guidance — while that wasn’t me alone, it was certainly a few of us at the very beginning,” he said.
“Warren [Serenbetz], myself and Lynne — we were certainly at the forefront of making that happen and getting that done.”
Alper said their efforts to be more transparent brought back respectability.
“That’s not to say our previous boards weren’t respectable,” he said, “but we were an authority in the conversation as opposed to what, in many respects, people thought we were — more or less a rubber stamp for the other boards.”
Alper said the only area in which he didn’t succeed during his time on the board was shared services.
“I take personal responsibility for that,” he said. “We just haven’t been able to move forward with shared services to a larger degree.”
With his term coming to an end, Alper said he will continue his fight for shared services as a Wilton resident at meetings, including those of the Board of Finance.
“I guess in some ways, that’s a far more powerful and dangerous mic, but I won’t give up that cause,” he said.
“I think that every good citizen should be willing to stand up at a microphone and be heard, and I will be at the town meetings to do that.”
Alper ended his farewell speech by telling his fellow board members, “I was “honored to work with all of you, in all sincerity.”
On Dec. 1, Vanderslice’s term as vice-chair of the finance board will end and her first term as Wilton’s first selectman will begin.
Although she will still see them, Vanderslice said, she will miss “the whole board.”
“My whole time in Wilton, what I’ve always loved is [getting] involved in organizations where I typically didn’t know anybody,” she said.
“When I joined this board, I knew Andy [Pforzheimer] and Jeff [Rutishauser] because they had been friends for a long time, but I don’t know if I would have ever met you before, Warren; and I hadn’t met Al.”
Vanderslice said meeting so many different people has been a “wonderful” experience.
“I think that’s one of the great things about Wilton, and I’m sure everybody’s had this same experience,” she said. “You walk into an organization, you don’t know anybody, and you [become] friends.”
Board of Finance Chair Warren Serenbetz thanked Vanderslice and Alper for serving on the board for seven and eight years, respectively.
He said Alper’s contributions to the board have been appreciated and “some that stand out to me are the ones you mentioned,” he said, “but also public participation and public comment.”
Serenbetz noted that Vanderslice’s contributions have included “pulling the mill rate model [and] being willing to step forward and serve in tons of different capacities.”
“I appreciated having you as my vice-chair and I will miss you,” he said.
Board member Richard Creeth said he has “certainly enjoyed” working with Alper and Vanderslice.
“When you’re on this side of the table, you see the level of work and diligence that goes into a board like this,” said Creeth, “and these are two very hardworking board members that we’re losing here.”
Despite the loss of two hardworking members, Creeth said, “surely, the two that we’re gaining are going to be equally hardworking.”
Republicans Peter Balderston, a portfolio manager and adviser at Falcon Capital Management, and Walter Kress, a managing director with J.P. Morgan and chief operating officer for its retirement plan, begin their terms on the Board of Finance in December.