Letter: Questionable financial management

To the Editors:

In an interview published the week of Dec. 21, 2014, I was surprised to hear from the first selectman that the Wilton Bonded Capital Projects Process that he had touted in his State of the Town address on Dec. 12, 2007, as “a major accomplishment” “was abandoned.”

In his original address he stated:

“This written process outlines the sequence of events and approvals required to take a major construction project from concept to completion. Existing projects have been integrated into the new system with the assistance of the Council on Public Facilities. I believe the development of a formal process, guidelines if you will, to more effectively manage the Town and Board of Education’s capital projects, will prove over the long term to have been a major accomplishment.”

It appears that the process document (developed with input from the Council on Public Facilities, Board of Finance, Board of Education, and Board of Selectmen) which specified actions to ensure proper financial management has been ignored.

I would like to specifically address the following paragraph from the process document:

“Members of any board which has approval or review responsibility for a particular project, including members of the BOS, CPF, Board of Education, or Planning and Zoning Commission should be excluded from that project’s Building Committee.”

This statement describes a key financial management requirement that there should be a separation of duties between those that generate a financial transaction and those that are responsible for approving it. To put it into colloquial terms, you don’t put the fox in charge of the henhouse regardless of how reputable the fox is. This separation was totally ignored in the formation of the MD building committee.

Given this disregard of proper financial management in the MD project, is it any wonder that there has been little regard for the ballooning price and we now have a $50M project added to our history of excessive spending?

I hope when our auditors review our financial processes they will be made aware of the fact that documented processes are not necessarily followed in Wilton.

Please let us know your opinion at sensiblewilton@outlook.com or via our website, sensiblewilton.org.

Alex Ruskewich

Calvin Road, Jan. 6