Collin Milone has been the assistant to Beacon’s mayor since 2018. His last day is Friday (Jan. 14).
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 the tourist trade. Before I came here, I was traveling for 2 1/2 years in the Mediterranean, the Balkans, India and Southeast 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. That’s infinitely interesting to me. I picked South America for this trip because I haven’t been there yet and it’s a little closer to home. I’ve saved enough to travel for at least six months, but that was my plan last time, too. I will be back over the summer, when two friends are getting married.
How did you end up in City 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 in Beacon because it had this revitalization. I wanted to see up close how it was done. I interned under then-City Administrator Anthony Ruggiero for a few months in 2015. When I came back to the States at the end of 2018, they were looking to fill this position. I told the then-mayor, Randy Casale, that I could stay for six months and here we are, three years later.
What is your job like?
The mayor and City Council set the direction for the city, and the administrator carries it out. I help with that. Every day you’re getting calls and emails from community members for everything from a dispute with their neighbors, to potholes, to their opinions on a policy that’s in front of the council. You listen and give them the information they need. You pass along what they want to the elected officials. One of the biggest things I do is help put together the council meetings every week, including an agenda that’s anywhere from one to 350 pages long. I also manage grants and the city’s website, write press releases, oversee committees and our climate coordinator, and I worked with HBO and Apple TV when they were filming here [for projects], too.
Tell me about some of your local adventures.
The Hudson Valley is the best place to be outdoors. You have absolutely everything right here at your fingertips. I grew up as a rower, and rowed crew from middle school and high school to a college club team. Being out on the Hudson, it’s magnificent and powerful. It makes you understand how small we are and how humbling nature is. Cycling is an outlet I picked up during the pandemic. You helped me out when I was trying to ride down to the city, and this fall I rode the Empire State Trail from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan.
How are you feeling about traveling during the pandemic?
It’s imperative that we’re responsible for ourselves and others — getting vaccinated, boosted, wearing a mask when it’s appropriate. If I learn enough Spanish while I’m in South America, I would love to help with pandemic response, coordinating vaccine distributions or dealing with any of the consequences of the pandemic. As long as you’re following the latest guidelines, we’re not new to this anymore. It’s the new normal and I’m excited to go see the world in a responsible way.