By Dakota Antelman, Marlborough/Hudson Editor
UPDATE: The Hudson Select Board announced, March 9, that it will conduct public interviews with executive assistant finalists, March 16 ad 5:30pm.
Hudson – The search for Hudson’s next executive assistant has focused on three finalists.
Ryan Ferarra, Thomas Gregory and Nina Nazarian each applied to succeed retiring chief administrator Tom Moses. Now, after navigating a multi-tiered screening process, they’ll soon make their cases to the Select Board itself in a public meeting.
“We obviously went through a process to arrive at the point that we are at today,” Select Board Member and Search Committee Chair John Parent said, March 8, before a consultant announced finalists’ names. “Each of these candidates is very highly qualified.”
Candidates boast backgrounds in municipal admin
Ferarra is currently the town administrator in Boxborough. He’s held that position since 2018 and now seeks Hudson’s top job as a next step in a more than 25-year career.
Before working in Boxborough, Ferrara had climbed from a role at the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority’s Advisory Board to municipal jobs in Newton and Middleton
Gregory, like Ferarra, started his current job in 2018. He’s the town administrator for Spencer, Mass.
Before that gig, he worked locally as an assistant town administrator in Shrewsbury.
Nazarian, meanwhile, currently works in the Office of Special Projects in Medford. She started her career as a civil engineer in Melrose before then working for the Tewksbury Department of Public Works. She’s most recently held town administrator jobs in Tyngsborough, Princeton and Littleton.
Announcement marks step in complicated search
The Executive Assistant Search Committee started meeting last year and quickly received 33 applications. After eliminating “unqualified” applicants, the Search Committee was left with 17 names before it.
According to Parent, they eventually narrowed that list down to seven individuals. Interviews with those candidates subsequently helped build consensus to nominate Ferarra, Gregory and Nazarian as finalists.
“It’s not an easy process, I’m sure,” Select Board Member Scott Duplisea said, recognizing the work of his municipal colleagues.
Search process sparks questions
With deliberations taking place, this complicated process has not been without its hiccups.
Back in November of last year, residents criticized the Select Board for what they saw as a rushed process of actually forming the Search Committee. Beth Langlois and Shanna Weston specifically said they felt locked out of a process they wished they could have participated in as civically engaged Hudson residents.
Weeks later, Parent sparked a still ongoing push to amend the Town Charter when he said Hudson’s residency requirement for Executive Assistants could discourage quality candidates.
Hudson is in the process of trying to erase its residency requirement through a Town Meeting vote and an act of the State Legislature.
More immediately, the Select Board plans to conduct public interviews with Ferarra, Gregory and Nazarian before the end of March, making a final hiring decision later in the spring.