After an extensive debate at its last meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted on Monday, Sept. 21, to continue the search for a new chief financial officer and authorized the National Executive Service Corps (NESC) to prioritize the hunt for interim candidates but to also consider permanent ones if they should appear.That was the question put before the board by First Selectman Bill Brennan. At this point in their deliberations, the selectmen had fallen into agreement that to avoid a gap in government, the search process should be initiated regardless, but also because of the fact that the current composition of the board will soon change, with contested races for first selectman and other seats on the Board of Selectmen slated for the Nov. 3 municipal election. But whether the search firm should focus on finding an interim CFO or a permanent replacement for Dennies was still to be answered.Prior to discussion, Brennan read a statement he had prepared in response to what he called \u201cmisunderstandings\u201d regarding the matter at hand.\u201cThere is no goal and there never has been a goal to hire a CFO as soon as possible,\u201d he said and repeated for emphasis. \u201cThe only objective is to develop an initial comprehensive list of qualified CFO candidates consistent with the position specs.\u201d\u201cThere will not be any decision to hire anyone without the first selectman-elect\u2019s participation. No one will be secretly hired and, given the process and time elements involved, I can assure you that the newly elected Board of Selectmen will eventually exercise the final vote of approval of an interim CFO or a permanent CFO, whichever the case may be,\u201d Brennan said.The chief executive officer of the NESC, Marvin Berenblum, was present, and he explained to the board it is more difficult to find an interim candidate than it is to find a permanent one.With that information, the selectmen launched into another discussion, but the majority were of the same opinion, namely, that the best course of action considering the circumstances is to pursue an interim replacement.Brennan\u2019s main interest was in the \u201ccontinuity of government,\u201d as he put it. He expressed fear that Wilton would be without a CFO in the heart of budget season. The new board and first selectman take over on Dec. 1.Selectman Michael Kaelin supported Brennan\u2019s stand, but for different reasons.He sees the next board\u2019s involvement as integral to the search for the new CFO because that group of selectmen will be the ones to define the position.\u201cRight now,\u201d he said, \u201cI don\u2019t think the priority can be anything other than interim, because we\u2019re not in a position to set the criteria and pick the permanent.\u201dSelectman Dick Dubow argued that because the CFO will in all likelihood serve the town longer than the next Board of Selectmen and first selectman, it should be the priority of the current board to locate a permanent candidate, making the search for an interim CFO a \u201cplan B.\u201d\u201cSince our new CFO is likely to be here beyond the term of our next first selectman, whoever that is, and certainly beyond the composition of the next Board of Selectmen, let\u2019s continue to move forward with our first priority: to independently, as free of partisanship and intervention, fill the CFO position, on a permanent basis, in a timely manner,\u201d he said.Selectman Deborah McFadden said she didn\u2019t \u201cwant to politicize\u201d the search by inserting herself into the debate when she is running for first selectman.\u201cI am one of those candidates for the first selectman-elect,\u201d she said, \u201cand I\u2019m trying very hard to separate my responsibility on the Board of Selectmen ... and my role as a candidate.\u201d\u201cI think we ought to continue the search for both. It could take us a while to find a permanent to come on board, in which case, then, as Mike suggested, we could have a brief interim, but if we are able to find the right (permanent) candidate, I don\u2019t think that we want to miss that opportunity,\u201d McFadden said.Kenneth Dartley, the newly appointed Republican selectman filling the vacancy left by Jim Saxe\u2019s resignation on Sept. 8, weighed in for his first time on the Board of Selectmen, on the same night he was appointed.\u201cI never interviewed for a job when I didn\u2019t know who my boss was going to be,\u201d he said.\u201cI\u2019d want to know what the boss thought of the job description. We should set the priority on hiring an interim to get us through the gap.\u201dKaelin made a motion to authorize the NESC to prioritize the search for an interim candidate, urging Berenblum not to neglect to consider properly qualified permanent candidates that surface over the course of the process.He was seconded by Brennan. Kaelin, Dartley and Brennan voted in favor of the motion, Dubow voted against it and McFadden abstained.