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Following online controversy, Hayes resigns seats on town committees

by | Jun 19, 2023 | Featured: News, News

Former Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee chair Darlene Hayes has resigned from her positions on the town’s Housing Authority and Cultural Council effective June 30 following controversy over her online behavior.

Under stories in the Hopkinton Independent and HopNews websites, Hayes had posted comments numerous times under various aliases leading up to the May 15 Annual Town Election, promoting Democratic candidates for School Committee while criticizing and raising concerns about independent candidate Ashley Fogg.

After Hayes’ actions were revealed June 5 by HopNews, she stepped down as HDTC chair and, one week later, issued an apology. However, she had not indicated whether or not she planned to remain as a member of the Hopkinton Housing Authority and Hopkinton Cultural Council.

Hayes attended the Housing Authority meeting last Wednesday but did not address the issue. But in a letter to the Select Board dated June 16, she recapped some of her accomplishments on the Housing Authority and indicated she would resign.

Below is the text of that letter.

To the Hopkinton Select Board,

Effective the end of this fiscal year, June 30th, 2023 I am resigning from both the Hopkinton Housing Authority (HAA) and the Hopkinton Cultural Council (HCC).

During my term of service on HCC I spearheaded and organized bringing back Art on the Trail to the community in both 2021 & 2022 that had been dormant for years, even pre-Covid, that was widely well received drawing passive recreational walkers to center trail from the greater region. In addition, I supported other projects, raised public awareness of HCC that resulted in increased grant participation from a broader spectrum of the community.

While on HHA, [I] have weathered through Executive Director transitions, loss of several HHA Commissioners (moved out of Hopkinton & the death of Beka Hoffman) who served with a great deal of passion and dedication to the residents of HHA. I was drawn to the HHA because my son did his Eagle Scout project serving this community and then my daughter who helped a resident several times a week for a couple of years until this resident who became like family passed away. It is eye opening how much need there is and how the HHA community falls off the radar most residents in town, many who have lived here a lifetime.

My personal advocacy for the residents of HHA has included in bringing back a holiday dinner that has happened the last two years that went dormant many years prior to Covid, new signage on the buildings so that it would be readable to emergency personnel especially with many new emergency responders now on staff in town, I also discovered that the HHA’s fire hydrants that are HHA property (not the town’s) were not working since then all but one is repaired and the final one needs to be replaced, and the facilitation of a $350,000 CPC Housing grant to create and renovate the residents community outdoor space to be ADA accessible and better functioning. Closing my time on HHA on June 30th is to make sure any historic knowledge, information and contacts are coordinated to hand off the implementation process of the outdoor improvements grant project.

Sincerely,

Darlene Hayes

Meanwhile, the Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee has reorganized since Hayes’ departure. Amy Groves is the new HDTC chair, with Dick Duggan (vice chair), Ellen Rutter (recording secretary) and Mary Jo Ondrechen (affirmative action outreach coordinator) joining Groves on the HDTC Executive Committee.

Asked to comment on Fogg’s criticisms and recommendations for improvement, the HDTC noted that it has a written statement that “encourages positive campaigning and was adopted by our entire membership years ago.”

The HDTC also insisted it did not coordinate with the HTA, whose president, Rebecca Abate, had criticized Fogg prior to the election. Abate previously stated there was no coordinated plan.

“It is not easy to run in a contested campaign, regardless of party affiliation,” the HDTC wrote via email. “We are grateful to all those who volunteer to run for office.

“Our endorsed candidates ran positive campaigns that emphasized their own ideas and qualifications; this is the way that it should be. We were unhappy that multiple candidates were the target of personal attacks.”

4 Comments

  1. Dina Linwood

    Sadly, nothing will change in Hopkinton. Her minions are merely a front for her continued control of the hdtc. Her resignation letter is illiterate. Hopkinton would be best served if she moved, not merely under a rock, but far, far away.

  2. Kristin Dangelo

    The HDTC’s comment that they “have a written procedure that encourages positive campaigning in which their entire membership adopted years ago” is pretty disappointing and is also moot at this point. It was just proven that their now former chair had not adopted this precarious procedure, but was actually acting in the exact opposite way. Their new chair was demanding that we name the two SC members that supported Ashley Fogg’s campaign. Why would she want to know this other than to either call us liars or to intimidate and harass the two SC members that supported Ashley. I’ll also note that one of these SC members resigned from HDTC following it going public that she supported Ashley’s campaign. They also cheered on a man (aka “Enough is Enough”) that yelled “F**k Fascists!” at Ashley Fogg and her children on voting day. None of this is positive campaigning. How are we supposed to accept and trust that statement? The whole procedure and way that it is implemented and followed clearly needs to be reworked in my opinion. Having a mission statement and procedures are one thing but following them and living by them is another.

  3. Chris Swezey

    Do the other twenty-three personalities agree with this statement?
    Chris Swezey

  4. Slow Uncle Joe

    It is a welcome development that Ms. Hayes is no longer a toxic presence in Hopkinton politics, the town is better off for it. What is more important than her departure however, is the necessity of Hopkinton voters to realize the need to look more closely at voting for Independent and Republican candidates. Thank you Darlene for driving voters towards some more rational choices.

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