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Mannans, Casady resign from HDTC

by | May 22, 2024 | Featured: News, News

Shahidul Mannan

Shahidul Mannan speaks during Tuesday’s Select Board meeting. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Select Board member Shahidul Mannan and his wife, Nasiba Mannan, the Board of Health’s vice chair, on Tuesday night resigned from the Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee via an email to HDTC members.

“It has been a pleasure knowing you all and working with you on our Democratic agenda over the years,” the email read, adding that the Mannans, “Democrats at heart,” planned to serve out their terms while retaining their party affiliation.

Contacted by the Independent on Wednesday, Nasiba Mannan indicated they planned no further comment at this time.

On Wednesday afternoon, Cultural Council chair Ilana Casady also resigned, piggybacking her resignation letter to the Mannans’ email. “Please accept my resignation from the HDTC also,” she wrote.

Shahidul Mannan, until recently the Select Board’s vice chair, was defeated for both the chair and vice chair roles Tuesday. Although the official vote was 5-0 for newly elected member Brian Herr to become chair and for member Mary Jo LaFreniere to become vice chair, straw poll member votes determined that Mannan’s only supporter was member Amy Ritterbusch, who nominated Mannan for both positions.

During the public comment period of the Select Board meeting, former School Committee candidate Ashley Fogg expressed concern about how the remaining members of last year’s board “sat in silence” while negative comments were made about her during her run for office last spring.

“On a personal note, I have been deeply disappointed by the lack of response from the current board members affiliated with the HDTC regarding the defamation against me,” she said, “which raised concerns about my safety and that of my children.”

She referred to the online behavior by former HDTC chair Darlene Hayes, who made disparaging remarks about Fogg under more than two dozen aliases. Hayes resigned from her HDTC role last summer, along with her town committee positions. This led to last year’s passage of Article 2 at Annual Town Meeting, which removed party designation from town ballots.

Fogg paralleled her situation with the “significant discussion and condemnation” after Mannan said he was the victim of racial discrimination during a recent Select Board meeting, noting she didn’t hear the same public outcry.

In an interview with the Independent on Wednesday evening, Casady shared that she had “taken steps back from the HDTC since last summer.”

“I was never a full or voting member of the HDTC, so my resignation has no impact on the HDTC itself,” she explained. “My resignation was more to distance myself from the organization and illustrate the need for change in the divisiveness political parties have caused in our town.”

She noted that “town government shouldn’t be run by political parties,” pointing to the passage of Article 2 last year as a step in the right direction.

“We generally share the same concerns,” said Casady. “We al want a good town with good schools. We all want to invest in the town but balance that with not paying a lot in taxes.”

She noted her resignation “had nothing to do with Shahidul.” But the Mannans’ resignation showed her that members were able to resign.

“With my resignation, I was trying to make an impact and state that we need a more functional organization that respects democratic values,” she said.

She added that she admired the amount of time and dedication it takes to be an HDTC officer. She noted that many people may want to volunteer but lack the time.

Amy Groves, the head of the HDTC, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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