Sunday, April 14, 2019

More Scrutiny for HDC

Striving to soldier on without an executive director or much of a budget, the beleaguered Hudson Development Corporation board just can't seem to catch a break.

Reading Gossips' report about the board's annual meeting on March 26, at which the board voted to approve four new members, caused former city attorney Ken Dow to suspect that the method of voting had been improper. Acting on his own initiative, he made a FOIL request for the ballots and the voting results. He received a tally of the votes for each candidate but no information about how members of the board had voted. It was explained that the voting had been anonymous and no records existed to establish how individual members had voted. Dow investigated the matter and confirmed that, as he suspected, secret voting by the HDC board was a violation of New York State law.

On Thursday, April 12, Dow sent a letter to board president Bob Rasner and the other members of the HDC board informing them of his findings, supported by case law, that "a body subject to FOIL may not vote by secret ballot." Dow's letter concludes:
Even more significantly than any concern for liability, I would expect that as a body formed to serve the interests of the citizens of the City of Hudson, the HDC and its members are committed to earning and keeping the confidence and trust of the people, and to operating in an exemplary manner in full compliance with applicable laws. Going forward, I hope and anticipate that the HDC will operate with the transparency that is not only warranted and appropriate for a body with its powers, duties, and purposes, but also mandated by the laws of the State of New York. 
HDC has called a special meeting at noon tomorrow the purpose of which, in part, is "to discuss board officers."


  1. Just wow ...

    And thank you Mr. Dow.

  2. The meeting scheduled for noon on Monday, April 15th was cancelled late last week. Business before the Board will be addressed at its normal monthly meeting, the fourth Tuesday of the month at noon.

    1. Thanks for the information, Bob. You may want to notify Tracy Delaney. The meeting is still listed on the city calendar.

    2. The city was notified of the cancellation prior to mid day on Friday, April 12th.

  3. Apparently board members of LDCs never learn.

    Over 21+ years of watching such boards operate,—for example CHIDA, The Partnership, HCDPA, HDC, CHDC—they make the same boneheaded mistakes over and over again. Always erring on the side of secrecy and against public scrutiny.

    People who join these boards: Read your bylaws and study the laws governing your operations.

    Take advantage of free State training... rather than arrogantly thinking that your appointment made you omniscient and infallible. Call Bob Freeman at the NYS COOG and have him give you a free seminar on Open Meetings and FOIL.

    This class of insiders have been burned so many times, the excuse that they didn’t know doesn’t wash anymore. You only don’t know if you don’t want to know.

    1. Insiders form a class of their own. Sadly it's a common failing.

  4. Hudson does not need this organization. or HCDPA.

    Hudson should modernize with the rest of the world and simplify. Hudson is a small city. It has a competent management. let the city do the work. it will do it better, and out in the open.