Hudson recognizes local planners with promotions

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Hudson recognizes local planners with promotions
Kristina Johnson was recently appointed to the Director of Planning and Community Development position she’s held temporarily since last August.

By Justin Roshak, Contributing Writer

HUDSON – The Select Board voted to appoint Kristina Johnson as Hudson’s permanent Director of Planning and Community Development and Pam Helinek as Assistant Director at its June 21 meeting. 

Johnson joined the Town of Hudson in 2015 as Assistant Planning Director. She moved into the top planning job on a temporary basis after her predecessor, Jack Hunter, retired in August of last year.

“I would extend so much gratitude to all my colleagues in government,” Johnson said of her experience coming onboard in the middle of a pandemic. “We all came together to make it work, because everyone was going through the same experience.”

Her priorities for the next few years will include major updates to town plans, grant management, and continuing downtown revitalization in partnership with local organizations.

Hudson recognizes local planners with promotions
Pam Helinek recently had her role of Acting Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development made permanent.

Helinek started work in Hudson in 2016 as Conservation Agent, a role she continues to fill. She followed Johnson into the role of acting Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development in August following Hunter’s retirement. 

“I’ve learned a lot of new things, and I really like being more involved in the community in other ways,” Helinek said. 

She praised the work of volunteer groups such as Green Hudson and the Land Trust, who have stepped up to support both conservation and development. 

The Select Board approved the permanent appointments June 21, with warm and unanimous support. 

“Both Kristina and Pam have provided exceptional guidance, expertise and knowledge in performing their jobs here in Hudson,” said Select Board Chair Scott Duplisea. “We excitedly look forward to having them continue their work here in helping improve all aspects of our beloved town.”

“Just keep doing it,” Board member Michael Burks, Sr. told the duo at the June 21 meeting. 

“I didn’t need to know more to suggest Kristina be promoted when the prior Executive Assistant told me Jack would be retiring,” Board member Fred Lucy added. “I repeated that suggestion, with commendation, as soon as Tom Gregory was installed.”

“I am pleased that the Board voted to make the appointments permanent,” new Executive Assistant Thomas Gregory said. “Both appointees are committed to the town and its success.”

As they received their promotions, Johnson noted that a hiring freeze during the COVID-19 pandemic meant that she and Helinek have been jointly performing the duties of a three-person office. 

“We are desperate to have a third professional planner in our office,” Johnson told the Select Board. “Hopefully we can get someone on board in short order.”

The Town posted that Assistant Planner job on June 24.