Every Friday until Election Day, GOOD Morning Wilton has published Letters to the Editor that we’ve received about the candidates and/or election-related issues. Today is our final letters column featuring more than two dozen letters from Wilton residents about who they’d like to see in office and why. Readers can look back on all of the Letters to the Editor columns that have run for Election 2019. Learn more about our election coverage guidelines and policies, including requirements for Letters to the Editor. Letters are printed in the order in which they are received.

Jennifer Lalor’s Special Education Background a ‘Tremendous Addition’ to BOE

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my support for Jennifer Lalor for the Wilton Board of Education in the coming Nov. 5 election. My family and I have known Jen personally for a number of years and have no doubt that with her background in education and special education, she would be a tremendous addition to the board.


E.J. Crawford

Clune–The Committed Candidate

To the Editor:

There is a saying that says sometimes you meet people in strange places. Within a few days of moving to Wilton this past spring, I volunteered to help Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation (WARF) set up for the college lacrosse game. It was 9:30 at night when my headlamp lit up Dave Clune‘s face when I was formally introduced to him by another WARF co-founder.

I learned more about Dave as we worked up until midnight as well as the following days during set-up and clean up. However, I learned his commitment and experience went way beyond fastening hundreds of zip ties. As second selectman he filled me in on the extensive hours and tasks he spends volunteering in that capacity for the town. I then met his wife and family at their BBQ after the 4th of July parade where I learned about both of their commitment and extensive involvement with Ambler Farm. Adding to Dave’s strong character and dedication, I find the most intriguing aspect of his experience is his role as the chief operating officer and a vice president in the legal group at Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The case for Clune is compelling–please join me in voting for Dave Clune for Board of Selectmen.

Kevin Kane

Peter Balderson Makes Decisions for Wilton’s Long-Term Financial Health

To the Editor:

It’s not easy holding the line on taxes and spending when there are so many priorities and so little help from the state. But Peter Balderson has proven himself capable of making the right decisions with the long-term financial health of Wilton in mind. He’s a conscientious and analytical steward of our tax dollars. I plan to vote for him for the Board of Finance and I hope you will too.

Gary Battaglia

Deb McFadden Exemplifies Everything Great About Wilton

To the Editor:

Deb McFadden exemplifies everything that is great about Wilton with her truly kind demeanor, incredible work ethic, and collaborative style.

Who better to represent this wonderful community then the embodiment of everything that makes Wilton such a special place?

Deb is uniquely qualified, capable, and willing to dedicate herself to this town in a manner that ensures Wilton not only reaches but exceeds its potential.

I will be voting for Deb McFadden for First Selectwoman to create a better Wilton that is open, genuine, and represents the best of everything this town has to offer.

David Marks

Dave Clune Works Tirelessly for All People of Wilton 

To the Editor:

An open letter to the people of Wilton:

Dave Clune represents all that is good in our great town. In his first term as second selectman, he has worked tirelessly to make Wilton an attractive and preferred place to live and work. If re-elected, he will continue to do so in his second term.

Dave believes that Wilton is at its best when residents step forward to volunteer their time. He lives this mantra and leads by example, volunteering his time not only on the Board of Selectmen, but on Parks and Recreation, as a founding member of the Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation, and other boards, committees, and positions in town over the years.

Dave Clune is a problem solver. His professional background, a blend of legal and operational roles, lends itself well to the varied issues faced by the Board of Selectmen. He knows the problems facing our state and continues to work to position Wilton to stand financially independent.

Dave Clune grew up in Wilton, loves Wilton, wants what’s best for Wilton, and as an independent, unaffiliated candidate, he will continue to work tirelessly for all the people of Wilton. My family and I will be voting on Nov. 5 to re-elect Dave Clune to our Board of Selectmen. I urge you to do the same.

David Cote

Strong and Independent, Dave Clune Speaks for All of Wilton

To the Editor:

We’re looking forward to voting for Dave Clune on Nov. 5.

Dave brings a strong and independent voice to our Board of Selectmen, speaking for all of us in town who moved here to raise our children, and plan on staying here long after they graduate from our schools. He speaks for each of us on the important infrastructure needs of our town, and does so in a practical and efficient manner.

Dave Clune represents the best of our town. He was raised here, graduated from Wilton High School, and is now raising his children here.  He has volunteered his time in both youth sports and various community projects.

He understands that our town is more than just a school system, and supports a sensible approach to providing the services and infrastructure that help us all enjoy our great lives here in Wilton. He does this with a clear and independent voice and is able to represent all of us who love living in Wilton.

We’re proud to have Dave Clune as our selectman. We will be voting for him on Nov. 5 and we look forward to each of you joining us in helping Dave continue to provide strong representation for us in Wilton.

David and Kathryn Johnson

Jake Bittner’s Professional Expertise in Construction Industry an Asset to P&Z

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Jake Bittner for the Wilton Planning and Zoning Commission. Jake’s professional expertise in the construction industry will be a valuable asset to the Wilton P&Z and the commercial businesses looking to invest in our town. As a resident of Wilton, he understands the character of our town and will work hard to represent us all.


Nancy Lombardo

Most Qualified, Committed Candidate for BOE is Jen Lalor

To the Editor:

Jen Lalor has the calm, thoughtful, attentive, and cooperative characteristics that we critically need from Board of Education members. Her background in education/special education speaks for itself, making her a uniquely qualified candidate. I am confident that Jen will represent all students, parents, and community members when making BOE decisions. I’m thrilled to see she has included a focus on STEM opportunities in her platform; this sets her apart, and is one of many reasons why she will earn my vote. BOE decisions are absolutely vital to the long-term health of our community. I urge all voters to exercise their right to vote. Elect the most qualified and committed candidate, regardless of political party. Elect Jen Lalor for BOE.

Loralee Hamilton

Dave Clune–Representing with Honor, Integrity and Unmatched Dedication

To the Editor:

I proudly support Dave Clune for re-election to the Board of Selectmen as second selectman. Dave continuously represents the residents of Wilton with honor, integrity and unmatched dedication. I’ve been in Wilton most my life and I’ve rarely known a person to commit the time, hard work and intelligence Dave has to better this community. Dave’s legal, financial and operational expertise set him apart, and I’m humbled by his commitment and his endless generosity as a volunteer.

Dave Clune certainly has our vote, and I’m honored to have him leading in our community. You’re a real Warrior Dave, and you make us proud Wiltonians!

JR Sherman

Former First Selectman says Mandi Schmauch has Shown Commitment to Wilton Schools, Taxpayers

To the Editor, Good Morning Wilton:

I am writing to share with GOOD Morning Wilton readers my enthusiastic support for Board of Education candidate Mandi Schmauch.

Mandi is skilled at making things happen, in both her professional life and in her volunteer activities. As a member of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee she worked creatively to ensure its on-time and under-budget completion. As a PTA volunteer, she developed innovative events, such as the annual Miller-Driscoll Carnival, to provide funds for that school’s PTA’s mission. Mandi’s two children study at Cider-Mill and Middlebrook Schools.

In my previous position as first selectman, I learned how much time, dedication and collaboration is required for service on a Town Board. I am convinced that Mandi, whom I have observed in action for 10 years, has shown a commitment to our public schools and the Town’s taxpayers that goes far beyond the interests of her own children. She will be incredible on the Board of Ed.

I urge a vote for Mandi Schmauch for the Board of Ed on Nov. 5.

Paul Hannah

Despite Claims, Preserving Wilton Schools as First Class Not Peter Balderston’s Priority, say Colleagues

To the Editor:

In his GOOD Morning Wilton Op-Ed Peter Balderston claims to be a strong proponent of Wilton’s schools. He states that his number one priority is to preserve Wilton’s first class schools. His actions on the Board of Finance would suggest otherwise. He led the charge to cut the school budget by more than $1 million even though the Board of Education submitted a budget that was within the Board of Finance’s guideline of a 1.6% increase. The main justification for this cut was things had changed since the guidelines were issued. However, the only major change was a town-wide property revaluation which slightly reduced the Grand List. This did not affect the overall budget at all but did shift some of the tax burden to properties valued below $700,000 (some of which appreciated in value) whereas properties over $1,000,000 typically reduced in value. This trend was expected when the guidelines were set.

The Board of Finance Survey conducted last year showed that 81% of residents came to Wilton for the School system. Peter’s number five goal is to protect property values by maintaining a reasonable rate of tax. Cutting $1.1 million dollars from the School budget reduced everybody’s tax bill by less than 1.0%. In theory a lower tax burden makes Wilton more attractive to home purchasers, but in practice an adequately financed school system is a much more powerful stimulant.

Richard Creeth
John Kalamarides

Editor’s note:  Creeth is a former member of the Board of Finance; Kalamarides is a current member who chose not to seek reelection for his term ending Nov. 30, 2019. 

Dave Clune Puts Needs and Best Interests of Wilton Citizens First

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Dave Clune for Board of Selectmen. Dave has served the town of Wilton tirelessly and with integrity during his first term. As a life-long resident, he is devoted to Wilton, always putting the needs and best interests of its citizens first.

Dave’s appreciation and love for Wilton is one of the first things I noticed about him when I met the Clune family over 13 years ago. I admire the deep roots he has here and his unwavering commitment to our town.

Dave Clune possesses the knowledge, dedication and financial experience Wilton needs to guide it to a stable and successful future. I encourage everyone to re-elect Dave Clune on Nov. 5.


Carrie R. Tobias

Jen Lalor and Mandi Schmauch Have Skill Set, Motivation and Drive to Move Wilton Schools Forward

To the Editor:

Connecticut’s struggles continue and as a result, Wilton has to do more with fewer resources. Education is important to each of us. The only way Wilton Schools will succeed given the unending resource constraints is by having the very best people on the BOE. We need BOE members who bring direct experience in education and broad based experience as professionals, volunteers and consumers of the Wilton educational system.

Jen Lalor is a mom with two children in Wilton Schools. She has 20 years of experience as a speech pathologist and brings a unique perspective on both education and special education. Mandi Schmauch is a Wilton Mom and a senior healthcare professional who has worked tirelessly to provide the leadership needed by Wilton Schools. These two candidates have the skill set, motivation and drive to help move Wilton Schools forward. Please join me in supporting Jen and Mandi for the Board of Education.


Joe Burke

Intellect Combined with Compassion Suit Florence Johnson for Planning & Zoning

To the Editor:

I have had the pleasure of working with Florence Johnson on several vital issues, mostly related to environmental policy. It did not take me long to realize that she has an incredible intellect combined with compassion. How does that relate to a position on the Planning and Zoning Commission? She will have to review many contentious land use issues that Wilton will face in the coming years. It will take a person like Florence to hear the arguments and balance the needs of multiple stakeholders involved in the process, all of which will affect all Wiltonians.

Dan Troph

Board of Finance will have Great Asset in Jung Soo Kim

To the Editor:

Please join me in supporting Jung-Soo Kim for the Board of Finance.

As a member of a multigenerational family living in Wilton, Jung-Soo is keenly aware of the needs and challenges of the town and will bring a unique perspective to the table. She is a thoughtful and deliberate person who will listen to, engage with and advocate for all the constituents of this town.

Very importantly, Jung Soo’s deep financial acumen, coupled with her ability to creatively work through problems and develop reasonable positions, will be a great asset in developing a fiscally sound budget that invests in the future of Wilton.

Sujata Vemuri

State Rep. Gail Lavielle Backs Republican Team–Vanderslice, Cole, Lalor, Schmauch, Serenbetz and Balderston

To the Editor:

This election comes at a time of resolve from Hartford to force ever-evolving mandates, taxes, and policy changes on towns. The school regionalization episode was revealing for many Wiltonians who told me repeatedly how surprised, even offended, they were by how hostile state government leaders they saw in Hartford were to our Town’s best interests.

This is why we need Town officials who’ll both stand up to policies that threaten Wilton’s schools, finances, and quality of life, and safeguard its fiscal soundness and flexibility despite the unpredictability of state-level decisions.

[First Selectwoman] Lynne Vanderslice has done both consistently, while creating a culture of accomplishment underpinned by responsiveness, fiscal discipline, transparency, and a clear vision for Wilton.

Selectman Joshua Cole has been instrumental in creating this culture. Trusted and diligent, he brings legal expertise, nonpartisan objectivity, and a young family’s perspective to the Board of Selectmen. Josh favors work and collaboration over politics.

Jennifer Lalor’s unique experience in speech pathology and special education will bring valuable expertise to the Board of Education. Mandi Schmauch is an accomplished professional who has already contributed her executive consensus-building and problem-solving skills to helping our schools.

Warren Serenbetz and Peter Balderston are highly experienced financial professionals seeking to continue their Board of Finance service. During my time on the BOF, Warren was an effective chair who always brought people together.

Please join me in voting for all of these highly qualified individuals who’ll always put Wilton before politics. They play on the best team–Yours.

Gail Lavielle

Vanderslice, Cole, Serenbetz and Balderston have Proven Track Record

To the Editor:

Our state has been undergoing a trying economic period. Fortunately, Wilton has remained in solid financial condition, thanks to Lynne Vanderslice as our first selectwoman, Joshua Cole as our selectman and Warren Serenbetz and Peter Balderston’s skillful leadership on the Board of Finance.

We need to keep Wilton in safe hands by re-electing Lynne Vanderslice for first selectwoman, Joshua Cole for selectman and Warren Serenbetz and Peter Balderston to the Board of Finance. They will work with other selectmen, Board of Finance members and other town boards, to protect all Wiltonians by structuring a budget that provides for responsible, necessary spending on essential school and town services, while holding the line on taxes during a time when so many of our residents cannot afford substantial increases.

I will vote for Lynne, Josh, Warren and Peter. They have a proven track record in keeping Wilton’s budget, schools, services, and residents safe.


Lianne Griswold Acosta-Rua

Editor’s note:  Serenbetz is not a current member of the Board of Finance, but served on the BOF from 2007-2017.

Unaffiliated Voter for Lynne Vanderslice

To the Editor:

Once again, we will be voting for Lynne Vanderslice. We have known Lynne and worked on many town related causes with her since we moved to Wilton over 20 years ago. She is very dedicated to Wilton.

Lynne has always displayed the same strong desire to help others, that she displays in her responsiveness as first selectwoman. When Cannondale residents were concerned about the Aquarion water diversion plan, Lynne assembled a great team. She collaborated with area first selectmen to fight school regionalization. She is standing up for MillstoneFarm neighbors and all of us to protect the town’s investment.

Learn more at her website and vote for Lynne.

Richard and Jo-Ann Babchak

Democrats in Wilton ‘Heavily Influenced’ by Hartford; Vote Vanderslice, Cole and Clune 

To the Editor:

This year the Democratic majority in Hartford took aim at Wilton with new taxes, new laws, and an all-out assault on the independence of our schools.

Republicans and Independents took action to defend Wilton and other small towns like ours. Together we beat back the worst proposals coming from the state Capitol.

On Election Day, send a message to the professional politicians in Hartford not to mess with Wilton.

The Democrats in Wilton are heavily influenced by Hartford

Think–vote for Lynne Vanderslice, Josh Cole, Dave Clune and our other dedicated volunteers on Tuesday, Nov. 5!


Jim McSweeney

Rick Tomasetti Most Qualified for P&Z

To the Editor:

I support Rick Tomasetti for the Planning and Zoning Commission. I have known Rick for many years and can tell you that he is one of the most qualified candidates for Planning & Zoning. A Wilton native, Rick is an experienced Architect and Wilton business owner who understands Wilton past and has a vision for our future.

Joe Colbert, Esq.

Democrat for Vanderslice and Clune

To the Editor:

We are Democrats voting for First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice and Second Selectman Dave Clune. They have shown themselves to be non-partisan public servants. They have demonstrated their executive skills by implementing a forward looking and realistic vision for Wilton. Economic development is up, costs are down, roads are being paved, playing fields upgraded and our environment protected. They are collegial, hardworking and have a longstanding commitment to our community. I appreciate their collaboration with the Board of Education to reduce non-teaching costs, so those monies can instead be invested in the classroom. Maintaining the quality and standing of our school system is at the heart of maintaining Wilton’s character.


Kate Williams
Robert Mathews

No P&Z  Candidate More Qualified than Rick Tomasetti

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Rick Tomasetti for re-election to the Planning and Zoning Commission. I first became acquainted with Rick when he was selected as the architect for a new club house project for a local beach club of which I am a member and was chair of the building committee. During the almost three year process I can attest that Rick is not only a creative and talented architect, he is also the consummate professional who effectively lead our project through the zoning and environmental approval process both at the local and state level. Rick’s knowledge of the zoning and environmental process was a great benefit to our organization and when re-elected he will continue to be an asset on P&Z. There is no more qualified candidate, I fully support Rick Tomasetti for re-election to P&Z.

Reed Raggio

Rick Tomasetti has Qualifications and Integrity to be Re-Elected to P&Z

To the Editor:

I am writing to say that I support Rick Tomasetti for re-election to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

I have known Rick for many years, and he has always stepped up to volunteer his time and expertise for Wilton. We all know Rick as either a volunteer coach, a Building Committee member, or a Zoning commissioner. I know Rick as the local architect that provides pro-bono architecture service to help-out a Wilton non-profit, the dad that calls me to make sure my son was ok after he was injured at practice, and the neighbor that I can count on.

As a local architect, Rick has the skills and vision to get the job done; I know, I have had the pleasure to see some of his buildings. Rick has the qualifications and integrity to be re-elected to P&Z.

Thank you,

Ed Beshlian

Board of Education and Wilton Community Lucky to Have Jennifer Lalor

To the Editor:

Our family has known Jennifer Lalor for many years. She truly loves working with children and their families and finding ways to help her students become successful. As a speech pathologist, her patience and dedication are qualities routinely expressed by those that know her. The Wilton Board of Education and the Wilton community would be lucky to have her.


David and Maria Batista

Jennifer Lalor will Listen to Community and Advocate for All Students

To the Editor:

Jennifer Lalor is one of the first people I met when my family moved to Wilton, and we have been friends ever since. Jennifer is a Wilton resident with a 5th and a 7th grader in the Wilton School District, who is running for the Board of Education. Jennifer has more than 20 years of experience as a speech therapist, and is an active volunteer within the District. She is exceptionally kind, hardworking, and believes in enhancing community involvement for BOE decisions. Jennifer will listen to the members of our community, strongly advocate for all students’ rights, and aim for each student to have the necessary tools to be successful and achieve their goals.  Jennifer will be an outstanding addition to the board!

Yana Siegel

One reply on “The FINAL Letters to the Editor Before Election Day 2019–Nov. 1, 2019”

  1. The Letter to the Editor above from Richard Creeth and John Kalamarides misstates the facts:

    1-The outcome of the revaluation was not known when the BOF guidance was set in Oct of 2018. At the guidance meeting, Richard Creeth and other members cautioned about guidance when the Grand List change is not known. The guidance was based on a historical increase in the grand list, not the decrease that actually occurred.
    2-The Grand List was finalized at the end of February. It wasn’t until March that Vision Appraisal turned over the detailed database to the town and analytics were generated that indicated the wide disparity of the results – half the single family homes had decreases of up to 30% and the other half of single family homes and condos had increases of up to 45%. This wide disparity of the Grand List and resulting property taxes was one of the topics discussed at the April 1st Tri-Board meeting, in which Richard Creeth did not participate as he left the BOF in 2018, before the Grand List results were known. Those tax increases were not insignificant to those they impacted.

    3-At the time of the guidance, the Board of Finance did not know that the Board of Ed had $800,000 in excess funds in their medical reserve and that those funds would be drawn down as part of the FY2020 submitted budget. Those excess funds were able to offset approximately 1% in additional BOS spending, meaning the submitted budget had spending that was 1% higher than the stated budget increase.

    4-The information about the $800,000 draw down in medical reserves was made available to John Kalamarides and me during our business operations meetings with the Board of Education and to the entire Board of Finance during the budget deliberations. I do not know if Richard Creeth followed those deliberations. Neither Richard nor John acknowledged that draw down during any of their comments on the budget and again do not acknowledge it in their comments.

    Facts matters and should be the means of evaluating a budget when you are a member of the Board of Finance.

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