By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
COEYMANS — There is a new face on the town board and a new clerk in the front office.
Newcomer to the town council Marisa Tutay and new Town Clerk Laura Jane Barry took their oaths of office on New Year’s Day, along with five incumbents who were returned to office in the November election.
A swearing-in ceremony was held Saturday morning prior to the town council’s annual organizational meeting.
Town Supervisor George McHugh and Town Councilman Daniel Baker were both sworn in to a second term on the board. Town Councilwoman Linda Bruno, appointed in 2021 to replace former Town Councilman Kenneth Burns — who stepped down in the middle of his term — was elected to the post by voters in November.
Later in the meeting, Baker was unanimously appointed deputy town supervisor, the first time an elected official has assumed those duties in two years (see article, page A3).
Town Justice Thomas Frese was also sworn in to another term, with McHugh conducting the oath of office. Then Frese swore in the remaining officers, including Town Highway Superintendent Scott Searles, returned to office for another term.
Tutay, who stepped down from her position with the town’s planning/zoning board of appeals earlier this month, was appointed by the board to replace former Town Councilman Zachary Collins. Collins resigned from the board effective Dec. 31 to become Coeymans’ representative on the Albany County Legislature.
Tutay said she was pleased to join the town board and take on the work that lies ahead.
“I am looking forward to being on the town board and helping to continue the growth that George and the board have started, and just serving the people and the town that gave so much to me,” Tutay said.
McHugh welcomed Tutay to the position.
“We are thrilled to have you,” the town supervisor told Tutay. “I am sure your presence will be missed on the planning board, but it’s our gain, so we thank you for being here.”
New Town Clerk Laura Jane Barry replaces former Town Clerk Cindy Rowzee, who opted not to run for re-election as town clerk and unsuccessfully challenged McHugh for the town’s top spot in November.
Barry, a Republican, said she is happy to begin in the post.
“I am excited about starting the position,” Barry said. “It is a very extensive set of duties and I am looking forward to diving in and getting it done.”
Serving alongside Barry as deputy town clerk will be Sherle Slingerland, a Democrat who opposed Barry at the polls in the race for town clerk in November. Barry and McHugh agreed to bring Slingerland on as deputy town clerk.
With a new year beginning, at the conclusion of Saturday’s organizational meeting McHugh shared his resolutions for the town for the coming year.
“We got a lot of things started in the first two years of my administration — a lot,” McHugh said. “We finished quite a bit of it, but there are certain things that we didn’t get to finish that we will finish in the next two years. That is the Riverfront Park construction, which my deputy [Baker] is going to be spearheading, and Joralemon Park with the new bathroom facility and a new pavilion that I am looking at proposing to put together, [along with] the bathroom facility at the Riverfront Park and our water and sewer expansion project out on [Route] 144 to bring the industrial zone into the water and sewer districts.”
McHugh also hopes to work more closely with the village board in the coming year, he said.
Baker said the town got through a difficult year and anticipated the new year would offer renewed hope.
“Thank you for everybody’s hard work in a difficult year, 2021, that we all went through,” Baker said. “And obviously, like everybody else, we are looking for a much better 2022. We want everybody to stay safe, stay healthy, and happy New Year.”