Selectmen update procedures for formal appointments

After months of work, the Board of Selectmen Oct. 4 approved a new raft of procedures for making formal appointments to town commissions, with the hope of making it more accessible to unaffiliated voters who are not members of the Republican or Democratic parties.

“The way it’s been done so many years has a lot of problems with it. It is offputting,” said resident Patti Temple, speaking on the issue before the selectmen took the action.

Among the procedures acted on include a reduction in the required number of signatures an unaffiliated appointee needs to be considered for a post. It is down from 100 signatures to 25.

“We want to encourage, not discourage, unaffiliated residents to get involved,” said Selectman David Clune, who is himself unaffiliated.

In seeking the public’s thoughts, comments questions or recommendations on the processes, 34 opinions  from the public were gathered and considered. They ran the gamut from not wanting ny signatures to wanting many of them, Clune said.

The decision did not come easily. Second Selectman Michael Kaelin wanted to keep the number at 100 signatures, to be sure the individual represents people in town and not just themselves. “I can speak from my own experience running for Board of Selectmen, I learned a tremendous amount outside the Village Market talking to people to ask them to vote for me,” Kaelin said.

Selectman Dave Clune preferred that no signatures be required, and Selectman Lori Bufano wanted only 25 signatures.

Selectman Dick Dubow was absent. Kaelin voted against the procedures, and First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice cast her vote for 25.

Candidates must also submit an application, which includes addresses for the last 10 years, employment history for the last 10 or more years, post-high school degrees and certifications, and Wilton town or community volunteer positions of the last 10 or more years. Volunteer positions outside of Wilton for the last 10 or more years are also considered.

Residents must attach a statement including why they are seeking the appointment, and stating their qualifications for that appointment.

Once applications are submitted, selectmen will notify the first selectman which candidate they wish to interview.

Residents may also continue to seek a nomination for an appointment through the Democratic Town Committee or Republican Town Committee. These committees must provide candidates within six weeks of a board opening. Vanderslice said that was necessary because it took 10 weeks to fill a spot on the Economic Development Commission. Also, a party’s nomination to fill a position is good for six months for subsequent consideration to the same board or similar.

The new procedures will be written up and published on the town’s website,