HUDSON — School officials say they are looking into a resident’s complaint the district’s head swim coach used his official email account to campaign for his wife, who is running for city council.
City resident Holly Harris sent the school district a letter last week claiming Matt Davis "abused his position as head swim coach, as well as his official Hudson City Schools email address, to campaign on behalf of his wife, during official school district work hours."
Davis’ wife, Nicole Davis, is running for Hudson City Council in Ward 4 against incumbent Beth Bigham.
Davis, who in addition to his coaching position also serves as Coordinator of Community Athletics for Hudson City Schools, admitted to the Hudson Hub-Times he sent emails on behalf of his wife’s campaign using his school email account.
"Those emails were sent inadvertently from my school email by me," Davis said Monday. "The school has an ongoing investigation and you are welcome to reach out to them directly."
Copies of the September emails provided by the school district following a public records request show Davis used his official school email account to ask numerous Ward 4 residents if they would be willing to put up campaign signs in support of his wife. Some residents agreed to put up signs, but others declined. In subsequent back-and-forth emails with some of the residents, Davis provided links to his wife’s campaign Facebook page, along with other information.
Another email chain involved correspondence between Davis and a local retailer who was providing both T-shirts and a hat for his wife’s campaign, as well as T-shirts and hats for the Hudson Explorers Aquatic Team.
Sheryl Sheatzley, spokesperson for Hudson City Schools, said Monday the district is investigating the complaint, but does not know when the investigation will be finished.
"Once the review is complete, we will institute any corrective or disciplinary actions as appropriate," said Sheatzley, who added that Davis is continuing to work during the review.
Harris said she believed that Davis’ emails violate the school district’s policy manual and may be a theft offense against Hudson City Schools.
Harris emphasized that she did not feel Davis should be charged with a crime, but said she believes he should have to "make restitution to the school district for the value of the services that were used improperly and the value of any taxpayer-funded time that he misused."
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.