By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – The Board of Selectmen had their hands full Sept. 14 voting on more than a half dozen major appointments, resignations and other decisions.
From financial concerns, to revived conversation about racial justice and diversity in town, the discussion lasted longest when focused on plans to buy and redevelop Hudson’s old National Guard armory for use as a performance arts venue.
“You hold the keys to keeping us in the game,” Cultural Alliance President Andy Horvitz said, explaining his group’s need for a vote of support from the selectmen. “You are the gatekeepers to significant private investment in the downtown area.”
As some board members voiced concerns about the Alliance’s ability to solicit donations, Board Chairman Joe Durant clarified that the town will not be left on the hook if the Cultural Alliance fails to meet its fundraising goals to buy the Armory on its own.
“We are going to be facing significant financial issues over the next fiscal year,” he said. “So, if the money isn’t coming from outside of the town, this is not going to happen.”
Later in the meeting, discussion pivoted to a proposal to form an Equity and Inclusion Committee.
Seeking to improve diversity and address discrimination in Hudson, local advocate Tina Grosowsky stressed the need for broad engagement.
“I believe that we all need to do something to make change,” she said. “If you’re not doing something to help and make change for people who are not white, you are contributing to the problem.”
As Selectman James Quinn stressed that he did not view the issue as a divisive one, Selectmen Scott Duplisea took offence to the latter half of Grosowsky’s comments.
“If you want to form a committee and you want to advise, have at it,” he said. “But when you said that, you lost me…I’m not going to apologize for being white.”
The board also held a joint meeting with the School Committee to accept the resignation of Committee Member Rebecca Weksner and to appoint her successor to serve until the next town election.
Choosing between five candidates, selectmen opted to send Elizabeth Hallsworth back to the Committee just a year after Weksner unseated her.
The same night they appointed Hallsworth, Selectmen accepted the resignation of longtime Executive Assistant Tom Moses. Effective in May of next year, Moses isn’t leaving right away.
Regardless, selectmen playfully asked him to reconsider.
“If we don’t vote, you’re still going to leave, right?” Durant joked.
“Probably,” Moses responded.