Lee Kyriacou became Beacon’s mayor on 1 January 2020, after serving nine terms on the Beacon City Council beginning in the 1990s and helping lead Beacon’s dramatic economic revitalization.
Lee is the son of Greek Cypriot immigrants, and is in the first generation of his family to attend college. He attended public schools in Detroit and California, got his BA at the University of California Davis, and came East on scholarship to earn degrees in law and economics from Yale.
Kyriacou has worked in financial services, strategic planning, and consulting for most of his professional career – including at Chase and Fleet banks and the Boston Consulting Group. He currently works for a payments network in Midtown, and will continue to be the Council’s only New York City commuter.
Lee and his spouse Elizabeth Barrett moved from Astoria to Beacon in 1992 – they fell in love with the City during the hard times when many were avoiding Beacon. Together they bought and renovated an old Victorian, raised two daughters in Beacon schools, and got involved – with local arts and environmental organizations, autism/disability advocacy, and restoring a Main Street building that helped spark revitalization along Fishkill Creek.
Lee has had a lifelong commitment to public service – combining progressive social views with fiscal responsibility. He was first elected to the Beacon City Council in 1993, serving three six-year stints – 1994-99 in Ward Two, and city wide in 2002-2007 and 2014-2019. In 2007, Lee took a two-year professional leave to work for Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who appointed him to lead the state agency that oversees local property taxes and policy director of a Governor’s Commission on property tax relief. Lee is possibly the only state agency head ever to merge his own agency into another one, saving millions in taxpayer dollars while improving property tax services.
The critical issues facing Beacon have been and remain focused around zoning, community vision and better planning. In the 1990s, it was about reversing impediments to revitalization – e.g., zoning out Main Street storefront apartments and closing the city’s riverfront incinerator. In the 2000s, it was about establishing a new vision for our community, and documenting that vision in a new Comprehensive Plan. In the late 2010s and now the 2020s – in light of Beacon’s amazing success – our challenge is to control development through focused zoning, addressing rapid development’s repercussions through better planning, and setting our sights on an even bolder community vision for our future.