When the practice of having an informal Common Council meeting was begun back in 2000, its purpose was to introduce resolutions so that members of the Council and members of the public would have a chance to study the documents before the Council voted on them. At the beginning of 2021, Council president Tom DePietro changed the nature of the informal meeting when he did away with standing committees and required department heads, who once reported to separate committees, to report to the full Council at the informal meeting. Since then the introduction of new resolutions has taken a backseat to department reports, and resolutions are regularly not presented for consideration until the regular meeting, immediately before they are voted on. Last night, only four resolutions were introduced, but DePietro promised, "We'll have a lot for next week." Nevertheless, the informal meeting was not without interest or incident.
Typically the report from the Hudson Police Department is presented by Chief Ed Moore, but last night Police Commissioner Shane Bower presented the report. Bower reported that, in the month of July, there had been 46 arrests, 9 calls about emotionally disturbed people, 2 drug overdoses, 1 death from a drug overdose, and no incidents of use of force. When the public was invited to ask questions of Bower, Bill Huston wanted to know Bower's role in approving the elimination of parking spaces in front of The Maker. Bower reacted to the questions by telling Huston, "You are not an attorney, and I am not on trial."
Huston then began questioning Bower about the shooting in the early hours of July 4, demanding to know why it had not been mentioned in Bower's report. At this point, DePietro told Huston he was "not following the rules," presumably referring to the Council's Rules of Order, and asked him to leave, calling Huston's behavior "disorderly conduct." Before Huston departed, shown the door by a Hudson police officer who was present at the meeting, Bower explained, "It's an open investigation. That's why we're not talking about it."
Mayor Kamal Johnson made a brief Zoom appearance at the meeting to announce he has made Cheryl Roberts a city judge and Andy Howard would be replacing Roberts as city attorney. Howard served as counsel to the Council when Claudia DeStefano was Council president (2016-2017) and as city attorney during Mayor Rick Rector's administration (2018-2019).
Perhaps the most interesting news was contained in a report from Department of Public Works superintendent Rob Perry, but unfortunately, owing to technical problems, he never got to that part in his oral presentation. The news is that the long awaited custom crafted railings, the absence of which has been preventing the completion and reopening of Promenade Hill, are starting to arrive. To quote Perry regarding the project, "The end is near."
Update: Rob Perry just provided Gossips with this photograph of the first delivery of the railings.