On April 27, the Hudson Town Board unceremoniously removed Gale Qualls, Maggie Hall, Mick Blaiser and me from the Hudson Town Planning and Zoning Commission. We were replaced by friends, family and supporters of Chairman Jeff Johnson.
Having run for supervisor myself and giving my support for a candidate against Johnson in the last election, I guess I should have expected vindictive, acrimonious punishment.
According to an unsigned form letter we all received from the Town Board, they "would now like to provide others with the same opportunity to serve their community." This letter opens with the dubious statement that they had "received a number of requests from residents of the town to serve on committees."
It goes on, "If the need arises in the future and you are still willing to serve, we may contact you again."
To my thinking, Johnson chose to replace hard-working, dedicated people with his nominators, a family relative and a relative of Supervisor Kernon Bast. It seems that disagreeing with the current administration is an offense that required reprisal.
I tried to take the board's letter at face value. However, on May 5 there were two new appointments to vacated positions. One was given to someone who currently holds another committee appointment and the other to a current employee of the town. Where is the large list of people who wish to serve? What happened to contacting one of the four removed people when a need arose? I conclude that the board's letter was a disingenuous, made-up cover story.
Jeff Johnson's action, and the board's support of it, perfectly illustrate the fundamental reason why I ran for town supervisor. I am tired of seeing those in power apparently take care of their own before they take care of executing their sworn duty. It is truly a sad day when ego and arrogance rule.
While I had the chance to serve for only one year, Gale, Maggie and Mick served for much longer. I was impressed and motivated by their knowledge, thoughtfulness, respect and dedication only to the public interest. I hope you will join me in wholeheartedly thanking each of them for their service.
I also hope you will join me in the future to seek a town government that is for the benefit of the people, not for the benefit of the leaders and their little club.