• James Armstrong

Hudson’s Treasurer named Interim Director General

Council faces renewed pressure on Pine Lake issue

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

The current state of Pine Lake that has slowed to a trickle and is now consumed with foliage following the breakage of the dam in 2014 is still a sensitive subject for residents.

Hudson Town Council has chosen Treasurer Claudia Ouellette as interim Director General (DG). Mayor Jamie Nicholls made the announcement at the town council meeting held Tuesday, September 4. Ouellette replaces Jean-Pierre Roy who officially vacates the post Friday, September 7 after almost three years of service.

The mayor said an external firm would be hired to carry out the search for a permanent DG. Later in the meeting, council approved the hiring of executive headhunters Morgan Philips Group for a maximum expense of $24,975.

Citizen input

Several residents expressed their concerns regarding council’s decision. Keith Heller said he was very interested in the process, adding many citizens have much experience in this area and should be included in the process of choosing a DG. “Council is taking action tonight to find the next Director General. Councillors will listen to all citizens,” said the mayor adding citizens were welcome to give their input on the topic at district meetings.

Special council meeting not advertised

Resident Eva McCartney asked the mayor if the decision to appoint Ouellette was made at a council meeting.

“There was a special meeting of council,” Nicholls replied.

“Was it open to the public?” asked McCartney.

“It was open to the public,” said the mayor.

“Was it advertised to the public?” she asked.

“No,” replied the mayor as those present responded with laughter. When asked why it wasn’t advertised, Nicholls said it was a very sensitive file; there were parts of the agreement that were confidential and that a caucus meeting was scheduled immediately after the special council meeting. When questioned about the legality of not advertising a public council meeting, the mayor said everything had been done according to the Cities and Towns Act and that councillors had received notice of the special meeting within the prescribed time period of 24 hours.

Hiring process

Regarding the process of hiring a DG, Nicholls said council would make the decision when the executive search firm presented a final candidate. Concerns were raised as to whether Ouellette would be able to handle the responsibilities of two posts given that she had recently returned from sick leave. Nicholls expressed his confidence in council’s decision and Ouellette’s willingness to take on the temporary position. Council also approved the hiring of additional help for the treasury department.

“I’m fairly optimistic we will be able to find a suitable candidate within the next six weeks,” said Nicholls after the meeting.

Restoration of Pine Lake and dam

Resident Trevor Smith told the mayor he had deposited a petition for the restoration of Pine Lake with the town and asked if council was taking any action to start the project. Smith said 1,272 Hudson residents had signed the petition including the petition completed by resident Jennifer Butler in 2014.

“Council does look at the Pine Lake project as being important amongst the many priorities they have,” the mayor replied adding that the political will for the project was strong.

“Is anyone actually seeking approvals from the Ministry of the Environment and whatever other requirements there are?” asked Smith.

“At this point, no,” said Nicholls. “I understand your passion and I thank you for gathering the signatures.”

Popular Hudson restaurant denied wall signage

Council denied the application for a commercial exterior wall sign on the recommendation of the Town Planning Advisory Committee (TPAC). According to TPAC, the proposed sign for Le Cozy Café at 484 Main Road did not meet the requirement of harmonious integration with existing signage. Café co-owner, Jessika Ménard, made the application for the sign. The decision evoked immediate response on social media because council meetings are live-streamed on Facebook. Ménard wasn’t available for comment but sources close to her indicated she would be meeting with TPAC on Wednesday, September 5.

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