By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – Candidates for Hudson’s soon-to-be-vacant Executive Assistant job have backed out of the application process due to a controversial residency requirement, Select Board Member and Search Committee Chair John Parent told his colleagues, Jan 25.
Speaking at a Select Board meeting, Parent stressed the problems this clause still poses as his colleagues took a new procedural step in actually striking it from the town charter.
“You absolutely do not have to live within the community to have a good relationship with the community,” Parent said.
Requirement rooted in 1970s
The residency requirement exists because of a town charter commission that rewrote Hudson’s organizing document in the 1970s. It’s rooted in a sense of community prioritization, aimed at ensuring that the town’s top administrator comes to work with a sense of connection to residents and neighbors.
Times have changed since the 1970s, though, Select Board members have acknowledged. Therefore, the Board has recently worked with a hiring consultant and with town council to remove this residency requirement and appeal to quality candidates as current Executive Assistant Tom Moses eyes his retirement, later this year.
Changing the charter amid hiring concerns
Though they voted to begin this process back in December, it all may be too late for some, Parent noted.
Already, Hudson has reportedly lost two “quality candidates” who bristled at the prospect of moving to town. One lives in a community directly bordering Hudson and might have struggled to find a home here, if forced to move, as property values have soared, and supply of homes has fallen.
As of Jan. 25, Select Board Chair Joe Durant noted, there were just six homes for sale in the entire community.
“I just don’t think there would be a big difference in letting him remain where he’s at,” Parent said of this candidate. “He could become part of the community very quickly.”
Town Meeting voters will ultimately decide, in May, whether to eliminate or preserve the residency requirement for Hudson’s Executive Assistant position.