Woodstock Highway Superintendent Mike Reynolds announced he is retiring from his position after 30 years of service in the department.
“I want to say it’s been a pleasure working with you guys and gals,” he said at the February 9 Town Board meeting.
“Billy, you were out with us a few different times with the snow removal and everything. You, in my book, did a remarkable job and I appreciate it,” he said of Supervisor Bill McKenna, who assisted in removing the piles of plowed snow after recent storms.
“As far as I’m concerned, the town will be forever in your debt,” McKenna said.
“I do remember standing at the salt shed one morning, the morning after Stan [Longyear] passed away, and looking you in the eye and saying either you’re running or I’m running, but one of us is going to run because we need to keep the department moving forward.”
Reynolds decided to run for the office in 2005 after superintendent Stan Longyear had died, just as he was going to seek a second term.
“I knew you had the opportunity to take the position before and you kind of shied away from the politics,” McKenna said.
“But when the town needed you, you stepped up in a big way, even though it wasn’t necessarily something you wanted to do. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.”
Councilman Richard Heppner said he can appreciate Reynolds’ decision.
“You know when it’s time. You really do. That’s important to recognize,” Heppner said.
“Your body tells you. Your brain tells you. 30 years is about it.”
In November 2020, Reynolds was featured on the front page of Superintendent’s Profile and Product-Service Directory, a publication circulated to highway superintendents, public works directors and commissioners, state DOT and Thruway Authority officials and he took a bit of good-natured ribbing for that exposure.
“I figured you made the high point of your job when you were on the front of that magazine cover,” councilman Reggie Earls said.
“You were like you can’t go any higher in your career, so you went out on a high note,” he said.
“I’ve been talking about a highway department calendar we could sell as a fundraiser.”
Councilwoman Laura Ricci said “fabulous” is the first word that comes to her mind when it comes to Reynolds.
“Having the roads in the hands of Mike and the whole highway department is great. But part of the department being great is having a leader in there who sets the tone and sets the example and Mike, you certainly have been fabulous,” she said.
Heppner joked Reynolds is in trouble now because his wife is going to find many things for him to do around the house.
“She’s already got the list growing, Richard,” Reynolds said.
“You’re going to find what you used to do after work now takes you all day and then some,” councilman Lorin Rose said.
Reynolds joined the highway department in 1990 as a part-time mechanic and that quickly became a full-time job. He then became superintendent Bill Harder’s assistant.
When Harder retired in 2003, Reynolds was appointed acting superintendent.
The town board is expected to appoint Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott Bonesteel as acting superintendent at its February 16 meeting. Reynolds will be rehired part-time at some point and will work as needed.