Appointment process will be re-evaluated

Town decision-makers will begin re-evaluating the process by which vacancies in Wilton’s government get filled, First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice said at the March 7 selectmen’s meeting.

But town executives agreed that night that until those discussions have been had, no additional résumés beyond those that have already been submitted will be considered for the two appointed positions currently vacant.

Vanderslice said she emailed Wilton Republican Town Committee Chair Al Alper, Democratic Town Committee Chair Deborah McFadden, chair of the RTC Nominating Committee Don Drummond, and chair of the DTC Nominating Committee Paul Burnham “and told them that we were seeking their input into policies that we’re going to be developing about how to open up access to positions on boards and committees.”

“I said that I thought we’d begin our discussions on [March] 21,” Vanderslice said. “Deb emailed back saying she’s going to be out of town until the 15th, but then she and Paul would get back to me, and I didn’t hear anything back from Al or Don.”

“I’m hoping they’ll come back with a proposal or specific ideas,” she said.

The two appointed positions vacant at present are one on the Economic Development Commission and one on the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee.

At the Feb. 16 Board of Selectmen meeting, in response to recent confusion, Second Selectman Michael Kaelin said that to apply to fill a vacancy, members of the public could either go through one of the party committees or approach any selectman or the first selectman directly and recommend themselves for nomination.

Vanderslice said that “five or six” people have since expressed interest in serving on the Economic Development Commission, and three have put their names forward for service on the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee.

“We’re going to start interviewing on March 15,” Vanderslice said. “People who have already stepped forward, we’re not going to tell them we changed the rules.”

Selectman Dick Dubow did not agree with this, however.

“If we’re in the middle of considering changing the methodology, let’s get that done [before we make additional appointments], if in fact we are going to do that.

“There’s no urgency, in my mind, to fill either of those positions, and I think we’d be well served by [first] coming to an understanding of what our process is — whether we’re going to continue to rely on a fast practice that has, in my mind, served us well, or if we’re going to go in a new direction,” Dubow said.

“Given the fact that there is no urgency, I would suggest we wait,” he said.

Kaelin was aligned with Vanderslice. “The only reason I don’t want to wait is because we told people something, and … I don’t want to change the rules on them.”

Selectman David Clune made the motion. “I’ll make a motion to consider, for the two open positions, the people we currently have, [starting] on the 15th, and that we won’t accept additional résumés for anyone else until we resolve with the RTC and the DTC what the process will be going forward,” he said.

The vote was 4-1-0. Dubow voted against.