Letter to the editor 2, August 24, 2017

Open letter

Thanking Hudson Mayor Ed Prévost

Hudson’s Mayor Ed Prévost recently announced that he will not seek re-election in 2017. I first met Ed Prévost four years ago when he was considering a run for mayor. I was among many he consulted as he prepared his platform and priorities.

Before retirement, Ed Prévost was CEO of public companies that dwarf the size and complexity of a small town like Hudson. Ed well understood the precarious position that Hudson’s finances and bureaucracy were in, but I don’t think that much could have prepared him for the challenges he would face, both personally and publicly.

I played golf with Ed before the election and he showed no signs of the health challenges to come. In spite of diagnosis and challenging ongoing treatment, Ed never lost touch with Hudson’s affairs. I know Ed wanted two terms so that he could bring significant positive change to Hudson, but his personal health didn’t allow that and he leaves us disappointed. I want him to leave us proud for all he accomplished and tried to accomplish on our behalf.

Mayor Prévost did not run a slate of candidates; rather he understood that he’d have to work with a random mix of those elected as his council. The Prévost administration hit the ground running and tried to effect changes quickly, and also consulted widely to form a strategic plan.

I don’t think that Ed, or any other mayor, could have envisioned a number of issues. There was significant distrust and obstruction from early on after they tabled an omnibus bill, which was withdrawn rather than risking a potentially divisive referendum. That rancor was continued for the full term by a small but vocal minority.

There was little way to foresee the multiple human resources issues and numerous significant legal challenges, including a significant complaint lodged by a now resigned councillor questioning ethics and conflicts of interest. The eventual resolution of that file showed it had no merit, but it hung like a money-eating dark cloud over a council that wanted Hudson to accomplish more that they were allowed. Similar legal challenges stalled many files, including much need paving on valid, but inconvenient, technicalities.

Ed Prévost is a gentleman, and remained always a gentleman despite his personal health issues and the rancid attacking tone of Hudson Council meetings. For me, he set a very high example and deserves our deepest respect as a good man.

Elected office is a personal sacrifice, but it is also a family sacrifice, especially in a small town. Ed’s wife Sandi has also been an example, as she proudly stood by her husband through the worst that health and Hudson could throw at Ed. Together they’ve set an example that we can all learn from and respect about life and love in a small town that got most uncomfortable with itself and our leaders.

On behalf of Hudson as a community, I wish to thank Ed Prévost for all the he did and tried to do for Hudson, but especially for all that Mayor Prévost showed us about grace and determination under both personal and public challenge.

I wish Ed and Sandi the best of family, love and relaxation. But, I know that Ed’s passion for building a better Hudson will have him looking over the shoulder of whichever candidate wins the November election.

The next Mayor of Hudson would be wise to consult Ed Prévost for both advice and past example.

Peter Ratcliffe