|Photo: Sarah Sterling|
Determining a minority leader is a perennial problem for the Common Council, since the minority leader is supposed to represent the minority party, and there is rarely, if ever, a member of a party other than the Democratic Party on the Council. DePietro scotched Garriga's attempt to make Johnson the minority leader, maintaining that the minority leader could not be part of the majority party and noting that the only member of the Council who was not a Democrat was Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward). (Merante is NOP—no official party.) As the only non-Democrat, Merante could serve as minority leader, or he could delegate that authority to someone else. Merante chose to delegate the position to Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward).
When the time came to adopt the rules of order for the new term, Garriga, who in the fall of 2016 had been removed from the Police Committee at the discretion of then Council president Claudia DeStefano, objected to this sentence in the rules of order: "The President may change Chairs and members [of committees] at his discretion." Johnson concurred, saying that the phrase "at his discretion" was inappropriate. It was decided that the new language would be something like "The President and the majority of Committee members can change the Committee Chair or any members of any committee." The rules of order were approved as amended.
There were also changes to the standing committees. Gone is Arts, Entertainment, and Tourism, a committee created back in 2000, whose sole purpose of late seemed to be to distribute $20,000 to various festivals and events in Hudson. (DePietro said the Council would figure out what to do with the $20,000 written into this year's budget.) Two committees have gotten name changes: Public Works is now Public Works and Parks; Youth and Aging is now Youth, Education, Seniors, and Recreation. There is also a brand-new committee: Housing and Transportation.
The committee assignments were also announced. It is of some interest that three aldermen—Calvin Lewis (Third Ward), Shershah Mizan (Third Ward), and Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward)—were not tapped to chair any committees, while one alderman—Kamal Johnson (First Ward)—is chairing two. The following are the committee assignments:
Housing and Transportation: Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), chair; John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), Calvin Lewis (Third Ward)
Legal: John Rosenthal, chair; Rich Volo (Fourth Ward), Shershah Mizan (Third Ward), Tiffany Garriga
Fire: Dominic Merante, chair; Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward), Rob Bujan (First Ward), Kamal Johnson (First Ward)
Police: Kamal Johnson, chair; Dewan Sarowar, Rob Bujan, Dominic Merante
Public Works and Parks: Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward), chair; Rich Volo, Shershah Mizan, Tiffany Garriga
Finance: Rob Bujan, chair; Rich Volo, Eileen Halloran, Shershah Mizan
Economic Development: Rich Volo, chair; John Rosenthal, Calvin Lewis, Eileen Halloran
Youth, Education, Seniors, and Recreation: Kamal Johnson, chair; Rich Volo, Dominic Merante, Calvin LewisThe schedule for meetings was also announced. Youth, Education, Seniors, and Recreation and Housing and Transportation will meet on the first Wednesday of the month—already past for January. Finance will continue to meet on the third Tuesday of the month, just before the regular Common Council meeting—for this month, January 16. Economic Development will meet on the third Thursday of the month—for this month, January 18. Police and Fire will meet on the fourth Monday of the month—for this month, January 22. Public Works and Parks and Legal will meet on the fourth Wednesday of the month—for this month, January 24.
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