Calls for more 'transparency and accountability' in city government

Staff Writer
Kent Weeklies

It took collaboration to responsibly grow Hudson and keep it among the best places in the country to raise a family. Every councilperson who has served us played a role in getting us to where we stand today.

As a nearly 40-year resident of Hudson, I propose more of us become actively engaged in the management of our city — and watchful of all the players.

Through some of the new independent voices on council who have lived in Hudson for decades themselves, and the efforts of fellow citizens who speak their minds with respect, conviction and subject matter expertise, we have started to break up the unhealthy alliance involving the former voting bloc majority on council — constructed in part through majority-rule council appointments instead of elections — and Hudson’s city manager and staff.

In our weak mayor form of local government, the city manager reports to council. But that is not what I saw when I pulled back the curtain.

I read emails surfaced by The Hudson Files organization through public records requests. They show questionable coordination between the president of council, city staff, and the political action committee supportive of the failed Phase II plan. The city mailed marketing material slickly presenting all the projected positives of Phase II during election season. It was paid for by the city. Not the pro-phase II PAC. That may be legal, but I think it is unethical.

My interpretation of those emails is that our council president acts as our mayor, and he appears to be the strong kind that everyone worries about. While he surely has done great things for Hudson for decades, he just as surely has created a power structure and divisiveness that must end. Each of our city leaders must be champions of transparency and accountability.

David A. Schullerman, Hudson