Hudson selectmen face criticism over executive assistant search committee appointments

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By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Hudson – Residents told Hudson selectmen, Nov. 2, that the Board’s decision, last month, to quickly appoint final members to an executive assistant search committee left them feeling alienated and discouraged.

Speaking after Beth Langlois sent a letter to the Board, both Langlois and fellow resident Shawna Weston agreed selectmen should have been both more transparent and open to new voices outside an informal but established pool of local government volunteers.

“I realize that typically residents that put their hat in the ring likely have served in some volunteer capacity already,” Langlois wrote in her initial letter. “However, there is a fresh perspective to be offered by the other 19,000 + residents of Hudson, knowing what they would like to see from the next Executive Assistant.”

The chief administrator for the town, the executive assistant’s office will have a new occupant by this time next year. That news comes following an announcement that current assistant, Tom Moses, plans to retire in May, 2021.

The first step, now, in hiring Moses’ successor has involved convening a search committee to narrow a field of applicants down to three candidates for selectmen to further review.

Composed of five representatives within town government, that committee also features two at-large appointees which the selectmen chose last month from a larger field of 12 interested residents.

As Langlois noted in her letter, however, that Board of Selectmen vote to make those appointments at the end of a marathon meeting which prompted selectmen to avoid actually speaking with any search committee candidates.

That, coupled with the fact that one candidate selectmen eventually chose actually did not attach a resume to his interest form, left Langlois frustrated, she said.

“How would you have had all the information you needed to choose him, other than knowing him personally?” she asked.

Selectmen said they heard those concerns, acknowledging Langlois and Weston’s calls for diversity and transparency on the search committee. Still they defended their deference to individuals with experience working alongside the executive assistant’s office.

“This committee is in charge of an extremely important appointment…” Chair Joe Durant said, Nov. 2. “It’s not where I would want somebody to take their first steps in local government.”

Durant expanded, though, thanking Langlois for her criticism and vowing to consider her comments in future appointment decisions.

“I appreciate your concerns,” he said. “I think they’re well founded and I think they’re genuine.”

Elsewhere in their meeting, Nov. 2 selectmen recognized the decision of town veterans services director Brian Stearns to officially cancel the annual Veterans Day Parade due to COVID-19.

“This is still the time to show respect by honoring these men and women,” Stearns wrote in a letter announcing the decision. “However, there will be NO public Veteran events or gatherings for this Veterans Day.”

Read Beth Langlois full letter detailing complaints about the Hudson Executive Assistant search process…https://go.boarddocs.com/ma/hudsonma/Board.nsf/files/BUSJ2U4B1E07/$file/Langlois%20letter.pdf