UPDATE: This post has been updated to include information from Kelli Calo’s letter of resignation.
HUDSON – Director of Public and Community Health Kelli Calo announced at a Hudson Board of Health meeting on Tuesday night that she plans to resign her position.
Her last day will be April 8, ending a nearly seven year tenure in town for Calo that has, recently, been dominated by the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My heart goes out to you,” Board of Health Chair Michael Delfino told Calo. “I wish you all the best in your endeavors.”
Career in Hudson spans multiple initiatives
Calo graduated from Worcester State University in 2015 and promptly took a job as a Community Intervention Specialist and Sanitarian in the Health Department.
She remained in that role for roughly two years before being promoted to the role of Director of Public and Community Health in 2017.
Calo has served in that position since.
Beyond COVID-19, Calo and her colleagues within the Health Department have contented with local manifestations of the national drug crisis, among other things.
They’ve observed rising rates of opioid overdoses and have worked with area advocates to combat the problem.
Calo separately worked with Town Hall colleague Pam Helinek to found the Hudson Farmers Market in 2017.
More recently, the Health Department has expanded offerings, onboarding a number of staff members including a new community social worker to assist residents.
As Calo has led her department, she’s also been frank about the challenges of working in public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The past several years have been incredibly demanding, and the constant demand has impacted the public health workforce tremendously, myself included,” she wrote in her letter of resignation, which was shared with the Community Advocate on Wednesday.
‘Hudson is my community and always will be’
Calo thanked her colleagues and noted her department’s efforts over recent years in that resignation letter.
“Serving at the pleasure of the town of Hudson residents has been an absolute honor,” she wrote. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity, the experience, the friendships and the memories.”
“The decision to resign has definitely not been easy,” she said. “Hudson is my community and always will be, but it is time for me to move on.”
Calo pledged to assist in the transition to her successor as she indicated that she would be moving into her “next chapter outside of local government.”
Fire Chief thanks Calo
Members of the Board of Health were among the individuals who weighed in following Calo’s announcement on Tuesday.
Fire Chief Bryan Johannes also spoke, thanking Calo for her accessibility.
“It has been a difficult time for everybody in the public sector and the private sector trying to muddle our way through the past couple of years,” he said.
“Kelli was able to take those phone calls from me and help me make sure that we could continue to provide the same level of service that our residents deserve,” he continued. “She will be missed.”
Town advertises position
The town circulated a help wanted message shortly before Calo’s announcement on Tuesday, advertising a job opening in the Director of Public Health position.
Those interested in applying should send their resume and cover letter to HR Manager Fernanda Santos at [email protected].
Application review will begin on Feb. 22.