Members of the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners bid farewell Monday to two longtime public servants who are retiring, Director of Administration Joyce Oliver and Cpl. Michael Clymer of the Bel Air Police Department.
Clymer was honored by Mayor Eddie Hopkins and Chief Leo Matrangola at the start of Monday's town meeting. Watching from the audience were members of Clymer's family and several fellow officers.
Clymer joined the town department in 1993 after serving 20 years with the Baltimore County Police Department. He also served 25 years with the Maryland National Guard.
With the Bel Air force, Clymer has made his mark in several areas, including community policing and crime investigation, as well as mentoring and teaching younger officers. He has been a school police officer and a member of the bicycle patrol, the latter activity earning him the reputation as the town's most physically fit officer, according to several of the commissioners.
"As a school police officer, Mike went above and beyond the typical call of duty," Hopkins said. "He handled hundreds of school situations, requiring a strong sense of confidence and the ability to handle a wide variety of issues. His presence in our schools has always included that little extra step that only Mike could give. Mike's extra step in the right direction has played an important role in continuing the town's desire to maintain a safe community."
Matrangola said Clymer has been a sharp investigator and unafraid to do things "Mike's way," as the chief put it.
"Corporal Clymer has an innate ability to diffuse situations...he's really set an example to others," Commissioner Rob Reier said.
In complimenting Clymer's community policing efforts, Commissioner David Carey said the officer has been "everything we think of small town Bel Air."
Commissioner Susan Burdette said she had only gotten to know Clymer since she joined the town board a year ago; however, he was well known to her children and many others in town. "They think you are forever 21," she told him.
Clymer, who is retiring to Florida effective Jan. 3, received a gift card from the commissioners and his gold retirement badge from Matrangola to, as the chief said, help Clymer get quickly to his newhome.
Each of the five commissioners also gave warm remarks about Oliver, who is leaving Dec. 27 after 28 years of service at town hall, when she and her husband, Richard, who attended Monday's meeting, will be moving to South Carolina.
"I want to express my gratitude to Joyce for years of dedication given to the town; all of our jobs would be a heck of a lot harder without her," Reier said.
Burdette recalled again how when her husband, Steve, was serving as mayor, she asked why town meetings ran so well, and Steve Burdette, who was also in the audience, said it was because of "Joyce's Rules of Order."
Commissioner Rob Preston also thanked Oliver, telling her that during his two years as mayor and town board chairman, "I needed all the help I could get and you were always there."
Commissioner David Carey praised Oliver for her fairness and making decisions on approvals for licenses and permits in the best interests of the town.
"Joyce has been fiercely loyal to the town," Carey said. "She has been someone to whom the town meant everything."
"The reason why Bel Air is the community it is is because of people like you," Hopkins told Oliver.
The commissioners and town hall staff held a reception for Oliver following the meeting. Also attending was Susan McComas, a state delegate and former town commissioner.