Sitting in his office last Friday morning, George Meyers is surrounded by staff bustling in and out of the office. Friday was only the third day of a new Town of New Windsor. Walking into the supervisor’s office, one can instantly feel the change in atmosphere.
Meyers was officially sworn in as New Windsor Town Supervisor on New Year’s Day. For many, his victory was a much-needed wakeup call for a town government that has often been in conflict with its own residents.
Meyers’ victory in November put an official end to former Supervisor George Green’s time in office. Green had not been in office for over six months. To an extent, his absence was one of the many issues that brought in a new government.
Meyers is no stranger to the role of supervisor. He had been supervisor for 12 years before being defeated by Green in 2005. Meyers was also in state police for 25 years.
In addition, his son, George Meyers Jr. is a New Windsor Town Court Judge.
“I just think it was time for a change in New Windsor,” said Meyers. “[Green] has been here a long time and obviously he wasn’t coming to work.” According to Meyers, Green had left calls and emails from residents ignored. “You can’t run any business without coming to work.”
According to Meyers, there has been no transition from Green or his wife, Deborah Green. Deborah was the former town clerk; Kelly Allegra is the new town clerk. “They just left,” said Meyers. “Well he [Green] hasn’t been here for six months, and she [Deborah] just left; won’t even give us the combination for the safe.”
Although, Meyers’ victory is welcomed by many, in the past Meyers fell under controversy for dissolving the New Windsor Volunteer Ambulance Corps. His decision was criticized by some.
Reentering the role of supervisor, Meyers has made an effort to resolve past concerns. He said his relationship with the emergency medical group is now mended.
“We just had a department head meeting yesterday, and they were here,” said Meyers. “They have said to me after that election that ‘you were right to shut us down; we were not really able to do the job.’ Now they’re able to do the job.”
According to Meyers, the group now has paid employees. In addition to volunteers, there are paid paramedics. “Before they were really pretty much a mess,” said Meyers. “Now in my mind now they seem to be a first-class operation.”
The organization was initially privatized for a while. It is now the New Windsor Emergency Medical Services. The organization changed because it is no longer a completely volunteer based group.
Meyers said that he is on the same page with all of the departments of New Windsor, including the New Windsor Emergency Medical Services.
Although the first official department head meeting was January 2, and Meyers officially took office on January 1, the job has been long in process for Meyers.
“I really started on December 1,” said Meyers. “I’ve been meeting with department heads at my house because I knew I had to hit the ground running.” Meyers believes there hasn’t been a department head meeting in eight years. “How is that possible,” exclaimed Meyers. “I’ll have one every month. You’ll get to see me every month with your department head.”
Taking over as supervisor, Meyers wants to close the gaps in communication that he believes to have been created in Green’s government. “Politics is not part of what I do,” said Meyers. “Two of the board members are Democrats. Two of them are Republicans. I don’t care if they’re liberal or conservative, they’re all here to serve the people.”
In the past, town board meetings almost felt exclusionary to residents. “There was not an open government before,” said Meyers. “There’s no secrets here. We’re going to be a lot more active on social media, and I’m here every day.”
Meyers explained that he will meet with everyone, regardless if they have an appointment or not. “I’ll never go home until I’ve returned every phone call for that day.”
Meyers has a lot of goals for the future of the town. He is pushing to have the town water source to be the Catskill aqueduct. In addition, he will work to update the sewer treatment plan. Meyers will also put a moratorium on development. “There will be no new building,” said Meyers. “Until I figure out what’s going on. So, there’s a lot of things on my plate, but I’m at this point able to do it.”
“Whatever I do, I’m deeply involved,” said Meyers. “If I’m not able to do it, I would resign.”