GMW’s “Wake Up Call” March Podcast: Vanderslice on Call with Gov., Her Emergency Powers & Staying Calm

GOOD Morning Wilton‘s “Wake Up Call” podcast for Tuesday morning, March 10 is out and this month, we led off with an interview with Wilton’s First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice talking about the latest news in the coronavirus situation.

Vanderslice told us about taking part in a call on Monday evening (March 9) that Gov. Ned Lamont led with all of Connecticut’s mayors, first selectmen, school superintendents, and emergency management directors statewide. Also on the call were the state’s commissioner of health, the commissioner of education and the emergency management director. Vanderslice said the governor reviewed his thoughts after speaking to governors in states where there has already been an outbreak, and getting their recommendations. “He’s taken those lessons learned and it’s informing the actions that he’s taking,” Vanderslice said.

She noted that Lamont has stopped all out-of-state travel by state employees and was recommending no gatherings above 100 people, in state offices as well as for municipalities. “Of course in Wilton, we’re already saying the same thing,” Vanderslice said.

The governor also suggested that each chief elected officer of each town explore the legal parameters in case of a state of emergency. Not only would the governor have additional powers in such an instance, but so would Wilton’s first selectwoman. “As the CEO of the town, I have certain powers. Gov. Lamont suggested that each of us talk to our town counsel about what does that mean,” Vanderslice said. “So we’re going to be doing that. [Town counsel] Ira Bloom comes in every Wednesday morning, so that’s one of the things that’s on the agenda for us to discuss.”

The right people in charge in Wilton

Vanderslice has been making herself available to local media, and posting regular updates to the town website and on social media. Her calm, straightforward demeanor has helped allay fears and reassure residents that the right people are in charge of the town’s efforts to protect residents and town employees.

This includes relying heavily on health department director Barry Bogle and Police Chief John Lynch, both of whom Vanderslice has said are extremely professional and very good at their jobs.

“The good thing has been that chief Lynch has been here for a long time. over 30 years with the Wilton police department. He lives in Wilton. And Barry Bogle has been with the town for a long time. He was with the town, went to work for Darien and then came back as the director. So they have experience,” she said, adding, “We have people that are helping us. In particular, Barry, that’s the critical position.”

Vanderslice said with talk about regionalization, situations like this point to Wilton needing its own dedicated health director. “There’s been a lot of talk on the state level about consolidating health directors and I am so grateful that that wasn’t forced on us, because there was a conversation about doing it. And it is certainly an area that is a potential for regionalization. But as I’ve told Barry many times over the last couple of days, thank goodness that we have you here, leading us and helping everybody through this.”

For town employees as much as residents, Vanderslice says town safety is personal.

“We are a small town, the people that live and work [here] and are making these decisions, it’s impacting either our children or our friends’ children or our grandchildren. And so it’s personal, the decision making and, and all the same. Given that, people know that the right people are in place to make those calls, to get the information and to make the resulting decision,” she said.

“Wake Up Call” records live from Orem’s Diner on the second Tuesday of every month, from 8-9 a.m., and is produced by Sharc Creative and airs on Fairfield County Talk Radio. You can listen live or download the podcast on the Fairfield County Talk Radio website, or by downloading the Fairfield County Talk Radio App on iTunes, through the App Store. For past “Wake Up Call” episodes, visit our homepage on the Fairfield County Talk Radio website.

Fairfield County Talk Radio and “Wake Up Call” is brought to listeners by the following sponsors:  the Wilton Chamber of Commerce; GOOD Morning Wilton; Tuff Lawn/Lawn Service; MDM Sanitation; Earthscapes Landscape Management and Development; Stamford Ford/Lincoln; Apollo X Pest Control and Dagny’s–the Real Estate Boutique of Fairfield County.