By David Fassler
Hudson – Citing new work obligations, Santino (Sonny) Parente has decided to step down, after serving nearly eight years from his position on the Board of Selectmen.
“When I got elected almost eight years ago, it was one of my proudest moments in my life,” he said in a recent phone interview. “Just to be in town your whole life and to have the opportunity to serve the people of Hudson was a tremendous opportunity.”
Selectmen Chair James Vereault is sad to see Parente's departure but understands and supports his decision to leave.
“Life is not static,” Vereault said. “Sonny picked up a job and has the opportunity to advance in a publicly-traded company; those are the kinds of things where you don's get a lot of time to make decisions. In a time when people are downsizing and contracting, I was quite happy for him.”
Parente's colleagues on the board all noted that while they were sorry to see him leave, they understood the logic behind his decision.
“I want to wish [Parente] well and thank him for serving the community as long as he did,” Selectman Charles McGourty said.
“I's sorry to see him resign,” Selectman Joseph Durant said.
“I think Sonny served the town very well and I's sorry to see him go,” Selectman Chris Yates said. “Sonny has a job where apparently the scope of the job changed and travel increased.”
Because of Parente's increased work responsibilities, he has less time to serve the people of Hudson.
“As time progressed and more opportunities came within my personal and professional life, I had to choose to broaden myself,” Parente said. “I wanted to be in town, to be that everyday selectman. Now I have responsibilities in my home and work life. I can's do that. I don's want to shortchange people. I don's want to be a part-time selectman.
“I'se always been in the entrepreneurial side of business and I kind of wanted to be in the corporate world,” he added. “Right now I still have the family business in Hudson, but I am also working for a Fortune 500 company, Newell Rubbermaid. We are going day-by-day and we'sl see what the future holds.
Parente is grateful to his supporters and to his board colleagues.
“There are so many people to thank in order to win an election and win a seat on the board. And in my eight years, I'se had many wonderful people help me and I wouldn's be there without the volunteers, signers, people who called for me and made donations.
“I am indebted to them and I will always treasure the meetings and phone conversations and e-mails,” he added. “I appreciate the time on the board, the friendships I'se made and they will continue beyond “selectmenship.””
The Hudson Town Charter 3-8 states in the event of a vacancy on the board, the remaining board members may fill the opening by calling for a special election. Or, citizens may petition for a special election by collecting signatures from 200 registered voters of the town, or 20 percent of the registered voters, whichever is less. The petition must also occur more than 100 days before the next scheduled election.
McGourty, Yates and Vereault said that perhaps the cost of a special election might not be the best use of the town's monies at this time.
However, Durant presented a different view.
“It's a long way to the next election and the people are entitled to a full board of representation,” he said. “I know there is a cost involved with the election, I think it's somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 to hold an election. It's two one-thousandths of a percent of the town budget.”
No decision has been reached as of yet as to whether or not there will be a special election. The next selectmen's meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 8.