By DIANE VALDEN
COPAKE—Town Supervisor Jeanne Mettler presided over her last regular monthly Town Board meeting, December 14. At the end of the year, she will step down from the supervisor post she has held for the past four years.
She did not seek re-election this November. In her final supervisor’s report 12 days before Christmas, she had a sack full of thanks to bestow upon those who have helped her through the years.
First, she thanked the late Larry Proper, the longtime town clerk, who despite not seeking re-election in 2019 when Ms. Mettler took office, came in to help whenever he was called. “Without Larry we would not have gotten through that first year,” she said.
Also thanked for their support were Copake Planning Board chair, soon-to-be Town Councilmember Bob Haight; Copake’s longtime man of many hats, Edgar Masters; Roberta Roll, who Ms. Mettler called, “Copake’s champion” for her work as a grant writer and Copake Connection editor; Copake’s accountant Bob Patterson; Copake’s attorney Jon Tingley and Copake’s jack-of-all-trades, go-to guy and her friend, Bob Callahan.
She thanked and praised everyone who works in the Town Hall, every clerk, every secretary, every town official and her Administrative Assistant Gwen Menshenfriend, “who has been such a help to me.”
Supervisor Mettler applauded the Copake Highway Department for their work late at night and early in the morning and for braving all weather conditions. “Thank you for keeping us safe.”
She singled out Highway Superintendent Bill Gregory, saying Copake’s roads are the best in Columbia County. Along with his expertise in running his department, she said, “his employees love and respect him and so do I.”
Town Clerk Lynn Connolly received kudos for the respect, patience, knowledge and kindness with which she treats all visitors to her office. Ms. Mettler said she depends on Clerk Connolly for her assistance, guidance, wisdom and friendship.
She thanked each board member for their contributions individually and their work together. In the first year, there were only four members on the board. “First came Hecate and then came Covid, it was a real one-two punch.” Despite their different political affiliations, there were no split votes and no proposals voted down. “We always reached a consensus, we kept talking and listening to each other until we worked things out.” She said she has posted a list of the board’s achievements on the town website (townofcopake.org).
She pointed out that this was also the last Town Board meeting for Councilmember Terry Sullivan, who did not seek re-election. Ms. Mettler thanked her for her work with the park and in the past year, for the example she set. In spite of the challenges Ms. Sullivan faced battling cancer, she remained engaged in town issues, she was always in good spirits, she was always generous and cared about each board member. “You are brave, Terry Sullivan,” said the supervisor asking for a round of applause on Ms. Sullivan’s behalf.
“I am enormously proud of what this board did, and the way they did it,” she said.
Deputy Supervisor Richard Wolf took a few moments before his solar project report to sing the praises of Supervisor Metter.
Calling her a good person and friend, he said, “no one can question her love for, and dedication to, Copake, her home town.”
Her intelligence, boundless energy, leadership and determination have all contributed to her ability “to shepherd through” many board and committee accomplishments such as: paving the Copake Memorial Park parking lot with increased handicapped spots and a pick-up area close to the building entrance; the Memorial Garden was redesigned and restored; four new pickleball courts; a future new bandshell for music and other activities; preparation for the 2025 Roads Reconstruction Project including working with an engineering firm to design parking lots and streetscapes, expanding the municipal lot on Church Street adding EV chargers, landscaping and improved lighting; construction of a new cold storage building for the Highway Department; the Town Hall Historic Exhibit, featuring 24 historic panels and paintings; establishment of the Copake Economic Development Advisory Committee and two subcommittees to the Conservation Advisory Committee: a Climate Smart Committee and the new Mohican Allyship; a Historic Marker Project; passage of an Affordable Housing Law; development of a proposed law to regulate short-term rentals; agreed to opt in to the State’s cannabis law, allowing dispensaries in Copake and all the events surrounding the town’s bicentennial next year.
Mr. Wolf credited one very important accomplishment to Supervisor Mettler which had little involvement from the rest of the Board: she rallied other local towns and state elected officials to press Columbia Memorial Hospital to reopen Rapid Care, which is expected to happen some time in the first quarter of 2024. “For all of this and more, and on behalf of all of us, we salute you, Jeanne.”
Concluding her report, Ms. Mettler said, “In this little town, in these 42.1 square miles of land that we call home, democracy thrives. Government works.”
She said, “Being supervisor of this town has been one of the greatest adventures and greatest honors of my life. I cannot end, though, without thanking the most important person,” her wife, Pat Placona. “You have been at my side and at my back for this whole extraordinary experience, through the good days and the bad. I could not have done this without you and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to.”
Current Deputy Supervisor/Councilmember Richard Wolf will step into the supervisor’s chair January 1, 2024.
To contact Diane Valden email firstname.lastname@example.org