Council also approves city administrator
The Beacon City Council on Monday (Jan. 4) unanimously confirmed Mayor Lee Kyriacou’s appointments of Sands Frost as police chief and Chris White as city administrator.
Frost, a 37-year veteran of the Beacon Police Department, has served as its acting chief since August. The mayor appointed him on Dec. 21, pending council approval.
His selection came after a nearly five-month search following the retirement in July of Kevin Junjulas. A search firm, along with a committee made up of council members, city officials and residents, interviewed candidates before suggesting two finalists to Kyriacou.
One finalist withdrew from the search for personal reasons, so the committee met once more and recommended the other finalist, who was Frost.
Under state law, Frost is considered provisional until he passes the civil service exam for the position.
On Monday, several Beacon residents, including Stefon Seward, an organizer of Beacon 4 Black Lives and a member of the search committee, called into the council’s video-conferenced meeting to urge Kyriacou to create a citizen-led police advisory board.
Another caller, Veekas Ashoka, said that Frost’s plan to get more police officers into neighborhoods is not in line with residents’ priorities.
Community policing is “typically used as an excuse to expand police funding and hiring,” he said. “It also extends police presence and surveillance into everyday life, and most of the time it just doesn’t work.”
Council Member Amber Grant said later in the meeting that she agreed with some of the concerns raised around community policing and that an advisory board “could be very helpful in making sure that is done tactfully and appropriately.”
The second appointment, of White as city administrator, had been announced by Kyriacou on Dec. 29.
White is originally from Garrison and lived in Beacon in the 1990s, serving as the city’s Ward 3 council member from 1996 to 1997. He will leave his job as the deputy director of planning for Ulster County and begin in Beacon on Jan. 19.
White will work with outgoing administrator Anthony Ruggiero for about 10 days before taking over the day-to-day management of the city. Ruggiero is leaving to become the assistant commissioner for administration with the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health.
White has worked for Ulster County for nine years, managing multimillion-dollar projects that include the repurposing of an unused school into a satellite community college campus and planning and constructing rail trails. Before that he spent 10 years managing Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s district office.
White holds a master’s degree in public administration from SUNY Albany and a bachelor’s degree in politics from New York University. He was selected from more than 30 applicants; unlike Frost, he is not required to take a civil service exam.
“We needed someone with good planning and zoning expertise and the ability to do multiple projects at the same time,” Kyriacou said Monday. “Chris has a really strong suit in the planning world and also in running major projects, so I thought it was a particularly good fit.”