Hudson selectmen unable to resolve lingering police issue

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By David Fassler Community Reporter

Hudson – Selectmen Joseph Durant and Charles McGourty both claimed to back Police Chief Richard Braga 100 percent, but the men differed in how the issue, which dates back to February 2010, should be resolved.

“The selectmen can's involve themselves in the day-to-day operations of department heads,” Hudson Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano said during the meeting. “The charter was amended to keep politics out of the day-to-day operations of the town.”

Durant pointed to three investigations into the undisclosed complaint; one by a retired police chief, and two by Capt. David Stevens and Lt. David French of the Hudson Police Department. Each investigation found the claim to be without merit. Durant urged the board to resolve the matter by standing behind the department heads. Selectmen McGourty and James Vereault cited lingering questions and urged Braga to explain how investigations are carried out.

“I am one-fifth of the executive board,” Vereault said. “I do not feel comfortable signing off on this when I still have questions.”

The selectmen had a heated discussion at the April 11 meeting regarding the issue, resulting in a 3-2 vote in favor of requesting Executive Assistant Paul Blazar to require Braga to appear. But the board, with Braga and his attorney in attendance, reversed course at the April 25 meeting and voted to amend the previous meeting's actions and “uninvite” the chief. This move was followed immediately by Vereault making a motion to launch an investigation into the matter in accordance with the town charter. The motion was disapproved, leaving the ongoing issue unresolved, despite Braga's presence at the meeting to answer questions.

In town issues, Durant proposed that Blazar research the feasibility of an override for road repairs. Durant said the only way he could see that the streets be repaired was through an override, as a way to “deal with road repairs outside the budget.”

In other business, the selectmen unanimously approved Transient Vendor and One Day Entertainment licenses to the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce for its Annual Community Fest June 4, and amended the Transient Vendor & Hawker/Peddlers Regulation for “Promoters.” The selectmen signed a contract with SEA Consultants for on-call consulting services for various boards and committees. A contract with Maguire Group was amended to the amount of $10,500 for commissioning services at the new Senior Center.

An increase of $4,000, to provide construction administration and supervision services, was approved for Amendment #1 of the Sauta Field Design contract. The selectmen executed documents on water betterments for Homer Street, Murphy Road, Parmenter Road and White Pond Road and sewer betterments for Birchwood Drive, Forest Avenue and Woodrow Street.

The board recognized Manuela G. Frias as the “Portuguese- American Woman of the Year.” The board also issued a citation in honor of the 125th anniversary of the Portuguese presence in Hudson.