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Hudson

CHARLES TOWN – Soon after the coronavirus outbreak spread turmoil and alarm to Jefferson County early last spring, the county’s five-member Board of Health held an emergency meeting to address the rapidly escalating public health crisis.

Jefferson County Commissioner Caleb Wayne Hudson, the commission’s liaison representative to the health board, was absent for that April 5 special meeting. He also didn’t appear at a regularly scheduled health board meeting five days later.

As the number of COVID-19 cases mounted, Hudson’s attendance at health board meetings barely improved. He was present for only three of the board’s 13 meetings held last year, according to pubic attendance records.

His attendance didn’t improve as a county commission representative to the Charles Town Utility Board and to the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission. He attended none of the 30 governance meetings those two public bodies held last year.

And when county commissioners voiced concerns last year over adjustments the Charles Town City Council made to the policies of selecting utility board members, it was Commissioner Josh Compton, the commission’s previous representative to the board, not Hudson, who publicly provided the background.

Paid $41,000 yearly as a county commissioner, Hudson skipped each of the four meetings the Historic Landmarks Commission held last year. But after historic commission’s members asked him during the one meeting he did attend in 2019 to relay a request to the county commission, those members never saw or heard from him again. And the request was never made.

Of the 43 overall public board, commission and committee governance meetings that Hudson was assigned to participate in last year, of those where records are available, he failed to show for 40, amounting to a 7 percent attendance record.

Of the 125 meetings where records are available during the four years of his term as a commissioner, he was absent for 91 of those meetings, a 27 percent attendance rate.

During the past four years, Hudson was assigned to attend meetings of the Jefferson County Water Advisory Committee, a panel working to protect the county’s water resources. The committee’s website does not have agendas or minutes posted of the panel’s monthly governance meetings. Mary Sell, chairman of the committee, did not respond to a request for meeting minutes or other attendance documentation of attendance for the committee’s monthly governance meetings.

However, past and present committee members said Hudson rarely attended the water advisory committee’s evening meetings.

No minutes or attendance records were available for Jefferson County Partnership for Affordable Housing meetings that Hudson was supposed to attend in 2018. The nonprofit group disbanded that same year.

Hudson, who rarely shares his views during commission meetings and avoids commenting to the media, did not respond to a request for comment from the Spirit of Jefferson for this story.

He began serving as a county commissioner in January 2017 after his election to public office for the first time the previous November.

A Republican and a U.S. Army veteran, according to his own social media profile, he began working in November 2019 as a policy director for The MilLiberty Initiative, a conservative advocacy group that touts itself as “advocating and communicating the ideas of liberty in new and innovative ways.”

Earning a political science undergraduate degree from Shepherd University in 2015, he has been enrolled in a political science master’s degree program at George Mason University since last year.

Last week, when county commissioners updated their outside board, commission and committee assignments for the upcoming year, Hudson agreed once again to represent the county commission at Board of Health, Charles Town Utility Board and Historic Landmarks Commission meetings.

Compton, selected by the other county commissioners to preside as the body’s president this year, asked his commission colleagues last week to check the meeting dates and times of their meeting assignments soon for the upcoming year.

“Some of these [meetings] are coming up fairly quickly,” he suggested, “so make sure that you are attending those either in person or virtually. They’re very important.”

Hudson’s four-year attendance record

Caleb Hudson has served as an elected Jefferson County commissioner since 2017. Here is the publicly available information on the 73 percent absentee rate he established for the public board, commission and committee meetings that he agreed to attend as a commissioner during the past four years.

 

2020 Assignments

Charles Town Utility Board

26 meetings held—Hudson absent for all 26 meetings.

Jefferson County Board of Health

13 meetings held—Hudson present for 3 meetings, absent for 10.

Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission

4 meetings held—Hudson absent for all 4 meetings.

Water Advisory Committee

No minutes or attendance records are publicly available

2019 Assignments

Jefferson County Board of Health

13 meetings held—Hudson present for 6 meetings, absent for 7.

Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission

7 meetings held—Hudson present for 1; absent for 6.

Parks and Recreation Commission

10 meetings held—Hudson present for 1 meeting, absent for 9.

Jefferson County Community Corrections Committee

4 meetings held—Hudson present for 3 meetings, absent 1.

Jefferson County Water Advisory Committee

No minutes or attendance records are publicly available.

2018 Assignments

Jefferson County Board of Health

12 meetings held—Hudson present for 4 meetings, absent for 8.

Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission

3 meetings held—Hudson present for 2 meetings, absent for 1.

Jefferson County Community Corrections Committee

9 meetings held—Hudson present for 3 meetings, absent for 6.

Jefferson County Water Advisory Committee

No minutes or attendance records are publicly available.

2017 Assignments

Jefferson County Board of Health

14 meetings held—Hudson present for 7; absent for 7.

Jefferson County Community Corrections Committee

10 meetings held—Hudson present for 4; absent for 6.

Jefferson County Water Advisory Committee

No minutes or attendance records are publicly available.

Jefferson County Partnership for Affordable Housing

No minutes or attendance records are publicly available. The organization ended in December 2018.

 

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