Letter: Lawyering up

To the Editors:

The Board of Selectmen recently asked Town Counsel (Ken) Bernhard to investigate the impending Sensible Wilton petition calling for a revote of the $50-million Miller Driscoll renovation bonding referendum that passed by a razor-thin 27-vote majority.

I have read Mr. Bernhard’s response and have many issues with his interpretation, and more importantly, with the BOS’s decision to “lawyer up.” The BOS is now using taxpayer money to defend itself from taxpayer concerns.

It appears Mr. Bernhard composed his rebuttal on the same day Sensible Wilton began to canvass for signatures (Nov. 4).

The Sensible Wilton petition does not seek new bonding action as Mr. Bernard infers and cites.

The petition seeks a revote of a Chartered town-initiated bonding proposal.

The revote is simply intended to redress known and town employee-acknowledged violations of the law.

These violations are numerous and varied. Some are minor, others are very serious. Together they form a pattern.

The rule of law is an essential ingredient in our democracy.

Deliberate or unintentional violations of the law certainly lead to mistrust in those elected by we the people.

The elected town boards would be foolish to resist voter initiatives under these very glaring exceptions brought about by their failure to properly inform the public.

Town board stubborn resistance to legal voter initiatives on the largest bonding proposal in Wilton’s history reinforces public perception that something is seriously wrong. An email is circulating that states, “On August 25, 2011 Turner Construction estimated that a completely new building would cost $41,905,630.”

Having said this, I believe it is important for elected officials to avoid a legal battle and associated costs by simply calling a revote so that all citizens may be able to voice their opinion now that the facts have become public.

This would be a legal, sensible, old-fashioned, neighborly, good old New England, amicable way to conduct government affairs.

Please reach out to sensiblewilton@yahoo.com to sign the petition and support a just cause. I imagine they would listen intently if SW collects enough signatures.

Ed Papp

28 Walnut Place, Nov. 10