Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Elect local almost sounds like the catch phrase, "buy local"! But when you go out to shop do you buy organic or inorganic? Do you even know what that means or care to know what that means?

I guess some feel that way when asked to vote on local elections.  The simple truth is, all politics are local.  Your local elected officials are the ones responsible for the laws, fees and regulations that govern most your daily activities.  Most seem to have a problem figuring out who is responsible for what, so I'm going to attempt to bring a little clarity to what your local elected officials in the City of Hudson do.

Local Elected Officials In the City of Hudson, NY 101

There are 3 major elected body's of officials in the City of Hudson.  There's the Hudson City School District Board of Education, which has 7 elected board members, There's the Hudson City Common Council, which has 10 Aldermen, 2 Aldermen per Ward times 5 Wards and a Council President, bringing the total of Common Council officials to 11 and There's the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, which has 23 members of the County board of supervisors.  There are 18 Towns apart of the board of supervisors, each Town having 1 member elected to the board of supervisors and there is the City of Hudson (county seat), which has 5 members elected to the board of supervisors, 1 elected per ward times 5 wards.


Hudson City School District Board of Education - The Hudson City School District covers 6 Towns, Ghent, Stockport, Greenport, Livingston, Taghkanic, Claverack and the City of Hudson, members to the board can be elected from any of the Towns or City of Hudson to the board of education.  One of the primary functions of the school board is, working with the Hudson School District administration to develop and set a budget for the coming year.  You could say the school board is responsible for school taxes, but, we the public do get to vote on the budget, so we bare some responsibility I would say.  The board of education is responsible for hiring a school district Superintendent.  The school board like most elected boards, develop policy and procedure for the school district, most issues that are directed at the school district could or would be bought to the school board. 

Common Council, (Aldermen) -  Aldermen are the legislative body of City government.  Aldermen make local laws, such a zoning changes, set fees and regulations i.e. fines changed for parking, that govern the City of Hudson.  City parks, sidewalks, housing, trash pickup, police department, fire department, roads, waterfront, youth department, senior department, truck route, city property sale and City of Hudson taxes are all under the charge of City of Hudson Aldermen.  Most of what has been set forth in the City of Hudson's charter has been done so by the Common Council, (Aldermen).  Some has been set by public referendum, but the majority has been set by the Council.  Any 3 Aldermen can bring a resolution to the floor for a vote without going through a committee or the Council President.  All Aldermen are elected officials who can only be removed from the Council for very serious legal violations, see City of Hudson charter for specifics.  The city charter outlines the legislative power of a city Aldermen

Common Council President - The Council President, unlike Aldermen are elected by a city wide vote.  The City of Hudson has 1 Council President, who's main function is to facilitate Council meetings which are set by City law.  The Council President, drafts and make changes to the Common Council's rules of order, such changes, if any, are then voted on by the full body of the Common Council where it takes a 2/3 vote by the full Common Council to adopt a change in the rules of order.  The Council President, outlines committees, assign Aldermen to specific committees and names the Chair of each outlined committee.  The Council President can choose to be an ex-officio or voting member of any committee he or she should choose.  The Council President can pull or refer any resolution to a specific committee for review.  The Council President can create a sub-committee at his or her discretion to work on specific issues.  The Council President presides over all full board meetings of the Common Council.  The Council President is a member of the (BEA) board of estimate and apportionment along with the City Treasurer and Mayor.  The BEA develops the City of Hudson's budget which is then brought to the full Common Council for a vote to adopt said budget.  The city charter outlines the powers of the Common Council President. 

Columbia County Board of Supervisors - The City of Hudson has 5 members elected to the Columbia County Board of Supervisors 1 supervisor per ward in the City of Hudson.  A Supervisor elected to a ward in the City of Hudson has NO say in city issues under the charge of City Aldermen or Common Council President.  Members of the Board of Supervisors are responsible for, the department of social services, the department of health, office of the aging, county attorney, county probation department, Columbia county public defender's office, county historian, Columbia county mental health department, county comptroller, county MIS, (management information systems), county tourism, Columbia county airport, all county roads and bridges, facilities department, county solid waste stations and closed landfills, Columbia county 911, county EMS (emergency management services) Columbia county veterans department, Columbia county weights and measures, county fair housing officer, Columbia county board of elections (budget only), sheriff department (budget only), D.A. (budget only) county clerk's office (budget only), Columbia county treasurer's office (budget only), virtually half of the Columbia-Greene community college (budget only), county taxes.

This outline is by no means an absolute description of each elected position, but it gives, you, the public a good idea of the separation of power at the local City level.  Each body of elected officials have some duties not so clearly defined, those can only be discovered once elected to a respective position.

William Hughes Jr.
Minority Leader
Columbia County Board of Supervisors