Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Looking Forward to 2020

On the eve of his inauguration, Kamal Johnson announced on Facebook a new round of appointments--commissioners for Youth, Aging, and Fire, as well as a legal team. The post begins with this statement: "2020 is all about making history and breaking down barriers! Hudson will have its first women's lead legal team!" The second sentence is a bit puzzling, since Cheryl Roberts was the city attorney during Rick Scalera's final two terms and Bill Hallenbeck's two terms as mayor. Maybe it's the "legal team" part that's the "first."

Regarding commissioners, Johnson has appointed Maija Reed as Youth Commissioner and Robyn Waters as Commissioner for Aging and has reappointed Timothy Hutchings as Fire Commissioner. 

Regarding the legal team, back in 2006, there was a referendum that asked voters to decide on this question: "Should Section C 9-1 of the Hudson City Charter be amended so that effective January 1, 2007, the Common Council may, upon a majority vote of the Common Council, employ its own legal counsel to advise the Council on matters affecting the City of Hudson?" The referendum failed, primarily, it seemed, because the voters didn't think it was necessary for there to be more than one city attorney. Since then, things have changed--without benefit of referendum. In 2017, during Tiffany Martin's term in office, there were three attorneys: city attorney, Ken Dow, and two assistant city attorneys: Andy Howard, counsel to the Common Council (appointed by Council president Claudia DeStefano), and Mitch Khosrova, counsel to the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Historic Preservation Commission. For the past two years, during Rick Rector's administration, there has been only one city attorney, Andy Howard. In Johnson's administration, there will be five. 

As Gossips has already reported, Cheryl Roberts will return as corporation counsel, i.e., city attorney. In addition to Roberts, there will be four assistant city attorneys. Jeff Baker, whose return Gossips predicted, will serve as counsel to the Common Council and the Planning Board. Zoe Paolantonio, who is a legal aid attorney, will serve as counsel to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Victoria Polidoro, who according to her profile "concentrates her practice in environmental, land use, and municipal law," will be counsel to the Historic Preservation Commission. Daniel Arshack, who is a recognized criminal defense attorney, will serve as "Special Waterfront Counsel" and "lead attorney on updating the Hudson waterfront plan." Presumably that means the LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program). 

It's not clear if an adequate amount was written into the city budget for 2020 to pay all these attorneys.   

Click here to read the entire announcement.


  1. Any word who the Police Commissioner is / will be ?

  2. The police commissioner has already been announced: https://gossipsofrivertown.blogspot.com/2019/12/mayor-elect-announces-appointments.html. It's Peter Volkmann, the police chief in Chatham, creator of the program Chatham Cares 4 U to address opioid addiction, and Democratic candidate for Columbia County sheriff in 2017.

  3. **Mayor Kamal Johnson