Letter: Wilton has a right to know

To the Editors:

In the old neighborhood we called it “shenanigans,” you know, a high-spirited, mischievous, questionable set of activities that may have been suspect and were almost always unethical but they got the job done! Unfortunately, I have a sense that our elected representatives and some of our volunteer board and committee members may have engaged in some “shenanigans” leading up to the vote on the Miller-Driscoll Project.

Nobody is claiming that the actual voting was fraudulent but there certainly are serious questions related to the “over-the-top” promotional activities that were orchestrated by our representatives to ensure a favorable outcome (i.e. approval of the $50-million bond). As an example, Wilton officials allegedly participated in a Vote Yes Campaign which (by law) they are not permitted to do. In addition, advocacy meetings were held on school grounds — another possible violation. The town spent $12,000-plus on glossy brochures to promote the project and encourage a vote for approval of the project but did nothing to encourage broader community participation.

These are serious and disappointing activities committed by people we placed in office to guard against this type of behavior and the state elections board is currently and justifiably reviewing the matter. Also, at an upcoming meeting the Board of Selectmen will present their response to the 1,100 Wilton citizens/taxpayers petition delivered by Sensible Wilton requesting a revote not because of fraud but because of the inexcusable, and most likely, unethical actions of some of our representatives leading up to the vote.

Incredibly, also in attendance at that scheduled meeting will be a uniformed member of the Wilton Police Department! In my opinion, this is an attempt by the board to create the impression they are dealing with an out-of-control mob. However, from a PR point of view it creates the opposite impression because it makes the board appear to be confrontational and ready to request WPD to eject people from the meeting if they (the board) feel the questions are getting too intrusive. With a nod to Stephen Stills and the Buffalo Springfield, “There’s somethin’ happenin’ here and what it is ain’t exactly clear…”

Despite the misguided decision to request WPD to be in attendance, many fellow Wiltonians have a right to know why such an extraordinary effort was placed into the pre-vote activities. Why did our representatives feel so compelled to “tilt the playing field” in their favor? Educating our children is of utmost importance and the people of Wilton and their elected representatives are in this together for the benefit of our children. However, when one of the parties engages in unethical “shenanigans” it distorts the entire process — a revote is warranted.

Franey M. Donovan Jr.

Wilton, Jan. 31