HUDSON – A tense discussion about the city Youth Department budget erupted Thursday night when dog feces were thrown at city officials.
During the Budget Estimates and Apportionment meeting at City Hall, the committee worked to put together the 2019 city budget.
Committee members include City Treasurer Heather Campbell, Mayor Rick Rector and Common Council President Thomas DePietro – who were present at Thursday’s meeting.
The feces were hurled from the packed crowd inside Common Council Chambers, 520 Warren St., at the three city officials. The feces hit the side of the table and fell on the floor inside a plastic bag.
“I don’t know what prompted it,” Rector said.
The mayor’s assistant, Branda Maholtz, cleaned up the mess and the committee returned to work on next year’s budget.
Two Hudson police officers were called to City Hall to act as security after the incident.
Police had not identified the person who threw the dog feces as of 11 p.m. Thursday.
“No one seems to know [who did it],” DePietro said.
Police are actively searching for the person who threw the feces, Hudson police Chief L. Edward Moore said.
“We will investigate,” he said. “We have leads.”
A person could face a number of charges, including disorderly conduct, Moore said.
DePietro called the incident “terrible.” The excrement was thrown after the mayor announced Nick Zachos was no longer serving as the city’s youth director as of Thursday.
“It's hard to believe this meeting, which was postponed by mayor and treasurer, was held at what appeared to be the last minute in order to give the mayor time to fire the head of youth department,” DePietro said.
Budget talks surrounding the Youth Department have become heated over the past month. The Common Council has received dozens of letters from residents calling on the city to provide adequate funding to the youth department, DePietro said.
Common Council Chambers were packed wirh residents Thursday, with people spilling out into the hallway, for one of several special meetings to discuss the youth department’s budget.
Zachos was not fired and has offered to stay on in another position, Rector said.
DePietro respects that the mayor does not have to discuss personnel matters with him, but the decision came as a shock and seemed to incense the crowd, he said.
“Tempers were high because the level of rumor and many of us didn’t know what is going in terms of the youth department,” DePietro said.
People began to shout and DePietro made a motion to allow public comment, but the treasurer and mayor would not second his motion, he said.
“Then suddenly, I heard something hit the table,” he said. “I have no idea what happened. There was a bag. I did not examine the contents… I was completely surprised by the whole thing.”
Check back for more details on this developing story.