The Race for Selectmen: Lilly, Bray

Two names will appear on the Democratic line for Board of Selectmen this November: Brian Lilly and Gilmore Bray. They are running for the two seats that will be open, now held by Michael Kaelin and Deborah McFadden.

Brain Lilly

Lilly, who moved to Wilton with his family in 1973, said the town of Wilton “needs help.”
“I have seen where our town has been and I see where our town can go,” he said, “and I feel this is a good time for me to be a part of the solution rather than just complain about the problem.”
Lilly has worked in the legal field since 1994 and is the president of the Wilton-based firm Litigation Support Partners, where he provides trial management and coordination services to the legal profession.
He is active in the Wilton community, where he serves as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Wilton Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), referees soccer games and has donated his time training junior referees for the Wilton Soccer Association.
Lilly said he is running for the Board of Selectmen because he wants to better the town in a number of ways.
“I think that as a board of selectmen member, I would have some say in how we move forward with the town that might benefit all of our taxpayers so that we can get more businesses into town.”
Lilly said he decided to run for the seat after seeing “all the empty buildings around town” and finding out that a list of businesses in town does not exist.
“I talked to the tax assessor's office, Planning and Zoning, the town clerk — no one has a list of the businesses that we have in town right now,” he said.
“There should be a breakdown, by category, of the businesses that we have — how many restaurants, how many manufacturers, how many office jobs — all these different categories so we can look at that and say, ‘OK, this segment’s doing well. We have a lot of contractors in town — how are they doing? How healthy are the contractors in Wilton? How healthy are the restaurants in Wilton?’” Lilly said a list of businesses would not only reveal which businesses are in town and which ones have left but would also help bring in new businesses.
“Why did Peachwave go out? Why did Steve’s Bagels go out? Why did the pet store and the hair salon … next to Turnover Shop — why did they go out and why have those buildings not been filled?”
Those, Lilly said, “are things we have to look at and try to figure out what is going on in town so we can try to figure out how to be able to get businesses in those that will be able to sustain themselves.”
Knowing which vendors are in town would make it easier for a business to do business in Wilton, said Lilly — “but we don’t know that” because “there’s no way to look at that.”
Another area Lilly said he would like to address as a selectman is Miller- Driscoll.
“With the Miller-Driscoll renovation, there’s obviously a lot of talk and a lot of people saying a lot of things about it, and my take on it is we cannot have another vote — it’s illegal for us to have another vote — the vote has to stand,” he said.
“However, the $50-million bond is just a placeholder — it’s not what we have to spend.”
Rather than pushing for another vote to bring down the dollar amount, Lilly said, “let’s look at what we can do to get our kids exactly what they need, and get the best school we can have for our kids at the lowest price possible.”
Lilly said it’s possible to create a better school without spending $50 million that could “satisfy both the people that are upset about the $50 million and the people who are upset saying, ‘We need the better school.’” “Let’s not get to the $50 million. We don’t have to get to that,” he said. “If we can do it all for $20 million, that’s great.”
As a selectman, Lilly said, he would also like to improve the Wilton school system.
“I have a son who’s a senior at high school, one who’s already graduated and an 11-year-old daughter, and I’m trying to make our school system the best that it can be,” said Lilly, who attended Miller-Driscoll, Comstock and Middlebrook, and graduated from Wilton High School in 1983.
“Frankly, I get upset when we’re fifth or sixth in the rankings and I don’t see any reason why we should be that low — especially for the amount of money we pay for our school system. That’s something that I want to look at and I hope we can help the Board of Education in making our school system the best school system around.”
Lilly said his family is “entrenched” in the town of Wilton.
Not only was his brother a social studies teacher, JV boys soccer coach and assistant varsity coach at the high school, but his mother ran the before- and after-school program at Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill, and his cousin Kristine Lilly, who became a professional soccer star, has Wilton roads and fields named after her.
“We are a part of the Wilton fabric,” said Lilly, who has “incentive to make a better situation for our retired seniors who live in Wilton.”
“My parents still live in the same house I grew up in — they’re in their 70s and still live in that house. My uncle — Kristine Lilly’s father — still lives in the house she grew up in in Wilton,” said Lilly.
“I want my uncle and my parents to be able to live in this town for as long as possible as retired seniors, and right now, that’s a little difficult for some people.”
Lilly said his run for Board of Selectmen is purely “for the betterment of Wilton.”
“It’s not a personal thing; it’s not about trying to advance myself — it’s about advancing our town,” he said, “and I think I can do some things for this town that will better this town for the people that live in it.”

Gilmore Bray

Since moving to Wilton in 1988, Bray has been quite active in the Wilton community.
“I have been actively involved in serving the community in various capacities — for the Wilton Congregational Church, the Wilton YMCA and especially the Board of Education,” said Bray, who served as chair of the education board for two years and vice chair for three before leaving the board in 2013.
Bray, who has been a member of the Energy Commission for the last several years, said he decided to run for Board of Selectmen because he “wanted to get back into service of the community.”
“I think I have a lot to offer in terms of understanding the community and evaluating issues that would come before it,” said Bray, who is running to not only “improve the services in the community” but “particularly, with the Board of Selectmen, provide for the public safety and improve the environment of the town.”
Bray said his background and experience make him a fit candidate for the selectman position.
Bray is employed by Misys International Banking Systems, a U.K. financial software house, for which he runs a business unit.
“In running that unit, I’m basically the general manager and I have responsibility for sales, customer service, development, and quality assurance,” he said. “I deal with financial issues, human resource issues, service to the clients, and with our clients.”
As a result, Bray said, “I have a broad experience in running a unit and therefore believe that I could deal with the … issues that would come before the Board of Selectmen.”
Bray said there are a number of issues he would like to address as a selectman, including the town budget and community investment.
As a member of the board, Bray said, the first thing he would like to do is “better align the revenue and expenses of the town and of the budget.”
“We need to maintain the services and the public safety of the community, but also we need to make sure that the services and the money that the town is spending is being spent wisely,” said Bray.
“As we enter the budget season in November, I’d like to carefully look at every individual budget category of the Board of Selectmen and carefully evaluate the purpose that each budget category is serving the community, and ensure that the money is being spent wisely for the town of Wilton.”
In particular, Bray said, he would like to look at the town’s social services budget “to ensure that it’s adequately funded and adequately staffed for the needs of the less fortunate in our community to ensure that they’re receiving the proper level of services.”
As a Board of Selectmen member, Bray said, he would also like to help improve Wilton’s investment climate “in order to attract additional investment from both individuals and families that are interested in Wilton as a place to live and work, in addition to contracting businesses.”
Bray said the first step would be to “ensure that we don’t have zoning regulations that are unnecessarily hindering investment in the community.”
As a member of the Board of Selectmen, Bray said, he would also use the board as a platform to encourage more people to volunteer in town.
“We do get a lot of individuals, such as myself, who are standing up and willing to volunteer, but I think we need to encourage more individuals to join,” said Bray, “particularly younger individuals and families.”