Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Preview of This Year's Local Elections

The deadline for submitting designating petitions for this year's election of local officials was last Thursday. Here is a preview of who will appear on the ballot for the primary in June and the general election in November. At this point, it seems the only contests, aside from the challenge to city treasurer Heather Campbell, are in the Second and Fifth wards. 

Mayor  
Kamal Johnson--Democrat, WFP (incumbent)

Common Council President  
Tom DePietro--Democrat (incumbent)

City Treasurer 
Heather Campbell--Democrat (incumbent)
Michael Hofmann--Democrat, WFP

FIRST WARD
Supervisor
Claire Cousin--Democrat, WFP
Alderman
Arthur Frick--Democrat
Gary Purnhagen--Democrat

SECOND WARD
Supervisor
Abdus Miah--Democrat, Conservative (incumbent)
Tiffany Garriga--Democrat, WFP
Alderman
Dewan Sarowar--Democrat, Conservative (incumbent)
Mohammed Rony--Democrat
Willette Jones--Democrat
Lee Bradshaw--Republican

THIRD WARD
Supervisor  
Michael Chameides--Democrat, WFP (incumbent)
Alderman
Calvin Lewis--Democrat, WFP (incumbent)
Ryan Wallace--Democrat

FOURTH WARD
Supervisor
Linda Mussmann--Democrat (incumbent)
Alderman
Malachi Walker--Democrat (incumbent)
Theo Anthony--Democrat

FIFTH WARD
Supervisor
Richard Scalera--Democrat (incumbent)
Alderman
Dominic Merante--Democrat, Conservative (incumbent)
Rebecca Borrer--Democrat, WFP
Vasiliki Daskloudi--Democrat
Mark Bodnar--Democrat

Given the apparent lack of interest in running for office--particularly for the offices of supervisor and alderman--it seems it may be time to consider reducing the number of supervisors representing Hudson to one and the number of aldermen representing each ward to one. It would save the taxpayers some money.
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK

13 comments:

  1. The County pays the supervisors' salaries I believe. But if the Council were cut in half and was run by the mayor we'd be able to afford a city manager . . .

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    1. Is it the County or the city charter which determines how many supervisors there are for Hudson? And yes, combining the alderman-at-large and the mayor and reducing the aldermen by half is long overdue.

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    2. I believe the charter sets the number of supes.

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  2. Hudson, need to bring itself further into the 21 Century. The weighted vote is gone,now its time to reorganize the ward & supervisor elected rep system. Has any of the candidates even mention the need for an INDEPENDENT City Manager. Bring this issue out into open , enough of back & forth on Gossips.

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  3. I grew up in Sausalito, CA and they've had a City Manager since 1955: https://www.sausalito.gov/city-government/interim-city-manager

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    1. I found this (slightly outdated) claim at Wikipedia:

      "[The council–manager] system of government is used in 40.1% of American cities with populations of 2,500 or more, according to the 2011 Municipal Yearbook published by the International City/County Management Association ..."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council%E2%80%93manager_government

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  4. Such a shame! I wish more people would run. We need a balance of viewpoints and fresh ideas. Not just people with limitless free time or who’s resume is only a community organizer. They are important too, but there needs to be some balance and real life experience, since running a town is closer to running a business than state and federal government. Which, I agree, a City Manager could help bring administrative know how and continuity to running city operations, and a reformed city council could focus on oversight and the needs of their constituents. You just have to make sure that the manager has a strict contract, as some can act as town dictators, ignoring the wishes of the council. The problem is, under the current system, are the people running, mostly unopposed, going to work for real reform when the current merry-go-round of community organizer to city government seems to suit their ambitions? Hmmmm…

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  5. The question of 5 Hudson supervisors seems to come up every election. Yes it is in the charter and their salaries are paid for by the County. (Still your taxpayer dollars). Their salary is $14,000 with an insurance buy out (or take the County insurance) bringing the total close to $16,000. The salary of an Alderperson is around $4,000 with an insurance buy out of around $3,000. Contrary to popular belief the supervisors put in a lot of work. I have held both jobs and the supervisor position definitely takes much more time. We have many more committees and are expected to know, create and understand a budget of $150 million with a workforce of 800. There are many more departments (DSS, Health and Human Services, Highway, DA, PD, Sheriff, EMS, 911, etc) to oversee along with negotiating with 4 unions. I agree with Union Jack that it is like running a business and there is not much opportunity for social change. We operate under a lot of State mandates so there isn’t much freedom to experiment and still keep the budget under the tax cap. All of the supervisors, except for Hudson, also manage their respective towns. We are slowly moving towards a county manger as well. I think there are only two other counties without a manger. We have an excellent chairman right now but he isn’t paid a full time salary and this position can be subject to the whims or whatever party is in power.
    The county uses a weighted vote for formal full board meetings, but all of the decisions are made in committee where there is one-person one vote. Having five from Hudson means having five of us on many more committees where our vote counts equally. Hudson has also given the county some diverse voices. Another recent change has been that there are now more women on the BOS, 7 where there were traditionally 1 or 2. In the near past we had Bill Hughes and Ed Cross for the Black community representation. Since Linda Mussman beat out Bill there has been no Black representation although we now have Abdus Miah to represent the Bangladeshi community. In the current group running for Hudson supervisors we will either have one Black and one Bangladeshi or two Black supervisors out of our five. Given the importance of the recent Police Reform Panel and the data showing the racial arrest imbalance, as we start to make changes I am happy to see that other voices will have a place at the table. I don’t think we would see that diversity at the county level with just one supervisor representing Hudson.

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    1. The information about the aldermen's salaries needs a little updating. The majority and minority leaders get $5,711 a year; the other aldermen get $5,473. The health insurance buyouts are $3,500 per person, and this year ten buyouts have been budgeted for.

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  6. The above comments about needed reforms to the City Charter (with the goal of reducing the number of aldermen and hiring a City Manager-we can momentarily put a pin in the county question as Sarah Sterling made some valid points) have had significant discussion, and really should progress to a more active stage of proposal.


    I have decamped to Troy to sit out the market moment Hudson is enjoying right now, and Troy seems to run just fine with half the council members Hudson has, with ten times the population. It is a perennial problem trying to find qualified who are willing to do the work to run for Common Council seats and make the City work better for its residents. As was pointed out above, there certainly seems to be a revolving door between the Community Organizers, who most certainly provide value but often one limited scope by a myopic orthodoxy and penchant for theatricality that amounts to a package short on substance. It's like we ordered Clydesdales to get us up the mountain and we're continually sent Palominos who just sort of prance in circles and wait for laurels to be draped around their necks. Meanwhile, the wagon is stuck in the mud.


    I will also add on the topic of Community Organizers that there are certainly valid and open questions about their sources of funding, and whether or not they are rallying people on behalf of larger organizations with a profit motive. These questions don't erase their contributions, but do pose very real questions about the way these operations run and cast understandable doubt as to the relative merit of the policies and candidates they propose.


    As to a City Manager, I wholeheartedly agree that Hudson is in need of more sophisticated management than the current structure of government enables. Hudson is a community with a lot of potential for smart development to promote more affordable living options and a stronger and more diverse economy that creates opportunities for its residents. Managing both existing departments and laying out a strategy for smart growth requires a degree of experience and competence that a mayoral election, which has devolved into a superficial popularity contest, can reliably provide.


    If people want to amend the City Charter, Fair and Equal should provide a valuable blueprint for the steps necessary for success. There are changes to the charter and the technicals of legal language that need to be agreed upon before a petition can be rolled out. There was consistent talk among some members of the Hudson Dems about exploring such an endeavor, though in its current state I wouldn't trust the HCDC to hold a dollar-off coupon for me, much less deliver on responsive and efficient government. Reiterating my caution about Community Organizers and some of their troubling connections, I encourage a more citizen-led effort.


    I know Steve Dunn did excellent technical work on Fair and Equal. He decided against a run for Common Council this year, which is unfortunate, but his skills might be put to good use in this area, if it suits his interest and his time allows. Similarly, Virginia Martin has extensive experience with election law and the ins-and-outs of the apparatus necessary to build such a movement, and Peter Frank and Monica Byrne are both excellent advocates for causes they believe worthy. I have not spoken to any of these individuals to engage them in such an effort, but they are good starting points. If you want to build a better world, hop to it-no one else is going to do it for you.

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    1. You make some excellent points. What needs to happen in order to move things forward, in your opinion? What can the citizens of Hudson do?

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    2. Excellent points and agree that people need to step up, beyond the usual community organizers, shills and trust funders who already got theirs and want to keep out smart development in Hudson. I think many of the entrepreneurs and hard working people in town feel they are too busy to participate and take for granted that the people running represent their best intentions. People put so much attention in national politics when it’s the local issues that can effect them the most.

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    3. Union Jack, you are spot on. There is a great deal of virtue signaling from our 'progressive' wing, though it really just amounts to the same patronage model as the Good Ol' Boys they rallied so hard against. It helps those with connections and leaves the rest of us saddled with the burden of higher costs. This is no way to run a rodeo and it is in action the very opposite of the progressive talking points they vomit all over the public discourse.


      I'll send out and email to gauge interest. A group of concerned citizens should get together and do a little problem solving to direct research on other cities before writing an amendment for referendum. You want to make sure you understand the problems you are trying to address before crafting the solution.

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