5 questions: Collin Milone – The Highland Current

Collin Milone has been the Deputy Mayor of Beacon since 2018. His last day is January 14th.

Collin Milone at his post at Beacon Town Hall (Photo by J. Simms)

Where are you headed
I’m going to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador to teach English to adults who want to learn to speak it to get into tourism. Before coming here I was traveling for 21/2 years in the Mediterranean, the Balkans, India and South-East Asia, volunteering with NGOs [non-governmental organizations] serving refugees in Greece and Serbia and teaching English in Thailand. When you spend time in a different culture, you not only learn what people wear and what they eat, but you learn how they think and why they think that way. It is infinitely interesting for me. I chose South America for this trip because I haven’t been there yet and it’s a little closer to home. I saved enough to travel for at least six months, but that was also my plan last time. I’ll be back this summer when two friends get married.

How did you get to town hall?
My background is in public administration and social work, so local government is the perfect space. I had to do an internship for my graduate degree in public administration, and I wanted to do it at Beacon because there was this revitalization. I wanted to see how it was done up close. I interned with then municipal administrator Anthony Ruggiero for a few months in 2015. When I returned to the United States at the end of 2018, they were looking to fill this position. I told the then mayor, Randy Casale, that I could stay six months and here we are, three years later.

How is your job?
The mayor and the municipal council set the direction of the city and the administrator implements it. I help with that. Every day, you get calls and emails from community members for everything from a dispute with their neighbors, to potholes, to their opinions on a policy submitted to council. You listen to them and give them the information they need. You send what they want to elected officials. One of the most important things I do is help prepare for weekly board meetings, including a one to 350 page agenda. I also manage grants and the city’s website, write press releases, oversee committees and our climate coordinator, and have worked with HBO and Apple TV while they were filming here. [for projects], too much.

Tell me about some of your local adventures.
The Hudson Valley is the best place to be outdoors. You have absolutely everything here at your fingertips. I grew up as a rower and rowed from middle school and high school to a varsity club team. Being on the Hudson is beautiful and powerful. It makes you realize how small we are and how humiliating nature is. Cycling is an outlet that I chose during the pandemic. You helped me out when I was trying to get to town, and this fall I hiked the Empire State Trail from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan.

How do you feel about traveling during the pandemic?
It is imperative that we take responsibility for ourselves and others – get vaccinated, boosted, wear a mask when appropriate. If I learn enough Spanish while in South America, I would love to help with the pandemic response, coordinate vaccine distributions or deal with the aftermath of the pandemic. As long as you follow the latest guidelines, we are no longer new to this area. It’s the new normal and I can’t wait to see the world in a responsible way.

Edward K. Thompson