New police chief, board member named amid town changes

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

New Coeymans Police Chief Marc Tryon

COEYMANS — A new police chief, town councilman and longtime highway superintendent retirement mean numerous changes in the town of Coeymans leadership structure.

A special meeting was held Friday evening at town hall to approve a raft of personnel changes, including the appointment of new police chief Marc Tryon, who served more than 30 years with the New York State Police.

Tryon is the brother of William Tryon, a Coeymans farmer who pleaded guilty to one charge of Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot in the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

William Tryon was sentenced Jan. 14 to 50 days in jail, along with a $1,000 fine and $500 in restitution for damages caused to the U.S. Capitol in the riot.

Marc Tryon has not been charged with any crime.

Town Supervisor George McHugh said Marc Tryon’s brother did not factor into the board’s decision.

“Marc’s resume and distinguished career speaks for itself,” McHugh said. “The town board and I believe that each person should be judged on their own individual acts and merits.”

Tryon replaces former chief Douglas Keyer, who resigned abruptly Feb. 11. Keyer did not cite a reason for stepping down, but the announcement came amid budget squabbles between the town board and the police officers’ union.

The new chief served 32 years as a state trooper, from 1981 to his retirement in 2013, reaching the ranks of sergeant, zone sergeant and first sergeant, McHugh said.

Tryon will step into the position March 7 and will earn a salary of $80,000 annually.

Marc Tryon said he will analyze the strengths and challenges facing the Coeymans Police Department to determine what changes might be needed.

“My first plan is to get to know the people of the community and see what is working well and where there are areas that need improvement,” Marc Tryon said. “I have already met with most of the officers and they seem competent and a great bunch of people. I am impressed already.”

Friday’s meeting also saw the resignation of Deputy Town Supervisor Daniel Baker, who will step into the position of special assistant to the highway superintendent with the retirement of Highway Superintendent Scott Searles.

Searles retired after 30 years with the Coeymans Highway Department.

“It’s certainly a bittersweet moment to honor our friend, our colleague, Scott Searles, on his retirement,” McHugh said.

Highway Superintendent Scott Searles was honored by the town on his retirement after 30 years of service. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Searles’ retirement is effective March 31. Several area highway superintendents attended the meeting and saluted Searles for his decades of service to the community.

“As a highway superintendent, not many people know how many times you got up from your dinner table, with one fork into your meal and the phone rings,” said Gary Thorington, highway superintendent in Windham, in Greene County. “Thank you for the amount of service — all the hours over 30 years of public service — that you gave to the town of Coeymans.”

New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Alan Van Wormer noted Searles’ many years of service and offered his assistance in the future.

“Retired or not, once you’re one of us, you are always one of us, so reach out,” Van Wormer said.

Westerlo Highway Superintendent Jody Ostrander said Searles was always willing to offer advice and assistance whenever he needed it.

Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, presented Searles with a citation from the state Assembly honoring his service to Coeymans.

“Scott, on behalf of the people in the 102nd Assembly District, the state Assembly of New York and all the residents of the Empire State, I say thank you for your service, and congratulations,” Tague said.

Former Town Councilman Kenneth Burns, a longtime friend of Searles’, said his successor will have high standards to meet.

“Nobody has done it better and whoever takes over for you, you are passing the baton to someone who has big shoes to fill,” Burns said.

Baker will initially serve as special assistant to the highway superintendent until Searles steps down March 31, but McHugh predicted Baker will be appointed superintendent at that time.

Baker is the second councilman to be replaced since the beginning of the year. Former councilman Zachary Collins was elected to the Albany County Legislature in November, and his seat was filled by Marisa Tutay, who had been a member of the town’s planning/zoning board of appeals.

Two of the five town board members are now appointees.

“Mr. Baker is stepping down [from the town board] to take a position in the Highway Department because it is very likely that he will be appointed superintendent,” McHugh said. “Scott is not retired until March 31, so [Baker] is on-the-job training for the next three weeks and then it is my belief that the town board will appoint him superintendent after Scott retires.”

Baker was re-elected to the town board in the November election, and said when he ran he intended to complete his term and at the time was unaware that Searles would retire and the superintendent’s position would open up.

“Nobody knew this was coming,” Baker said of Searles’ retirement.

Town and state officials, along with Scott Searles’ peers from other highway departments, honored him on the official announcement of his retirement. Pictured, left to right, are Westerlo Highway Superintendent Jody Ostrander; Assemblyman Chris Tague; Searles; New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Alan Van Wormer; Councilwoman Linda Bruno; Windham Highway Superintendent Gary Thorington; Town Supervisor George McHugh; Councilman Daniel Baker, who resigned from the board Friday; and Councilwoman Marisa Tutay. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

McHugh said turnover in the board’s makeup was due to upward movement.

“You can’t stop people from progressing,” McHugh said. “Zach Collins was elevated to the county Legislature. That created a vacancy, and now the unexpected retirement by our superintendent created another vacancy. Thankfully, we have somebody like Daniel Baker, who has the qualifications to handle the job.”

Baker has spent most of his career as a heavy equipment operator and truck driver, and worked as a manager at the Lafarge cement plant, McHugh said.

“I think he’s got a great resume for this position,” the town supervisor said.

Baker will be replaced on the board by Planning/Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Stephen Schmitt, who resigned from that position effective March 4 and will be sworn in as the town’s newest town councilman at a ceremony March 10.

Voters will be able to cast ballots for the two seats currently held by appointees Schmitt and Tutay on Election Day, Nov. 8.

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