After serving in the Ulster County Legislature for 28 years Republican Richard Gerentine announced recently that he will retire at the end of this year.
During his tenure Gerentine has served on a variety of committees; Ways & Means, General Services, Budget & Finance, Union Negotiations, Human Services, Records and Advisory Board and also a stint as the Chairman of the Legislature from 2004-2005. Prior to his service in Kingston, Gerentine served single terms as a Marlborough Town Councilman and as the Town Supervisor. Since 2006 he has served on the board of the NYS Bridge Authority and currently as its Chairman. In addition, he serves on the board of the Wallkill Valley Federal Savings and Loan Association and has represented the county on the Stewart Airport Commission.
As a partner in Marlborough Associates LP, Gerentine has constructed four affordable senior citizen complexes: Jenny’s Garden I & II, Golden View and Milton Harvest.
Gerentine is also a member of many local organizations, reserving a special love for UNICO in his hometown.
Gerentine majored in Business Administration at SUNY Ulster, starting in 1972 and received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Marist College in 1975.
Gerentine said he has been thinking about retiring for the past two years.
“I think I served the community very well, the taxpayers very well, the county very well and I think twenty-eight years of service is very ample to give back to the community,” he said.
Gerentine is especially proud of his service on the Ways & Means Committee.
“I was put on the committee based on my ability for financing and my business background and I’ve always been on the Ways & Means Committee ever since I’ve been there, which is a great accomplishment in itself,” he said.
Gerentine said saving Ellenville Hospital gave him his “greatest sense of accomplishment.” He was able to make a deal with the President of Westchester Hospital that kept it open and preserved 90 jobs.
“We kept service to the community ongoing and it transformed into something it is today, a small community hospital that serves as a medical facility to help people in that area,” he said.
Gerentine said if it had closed, it would have devastated the area and getting another license to operate a facility like this would be next to impossible.
“For the $500,000 that it cost the county, we’ve saved that money many times over regarding not only the jobs we provided but also it is something needed in that area and will continue to be needed in years to come.”
Gerentine recalled advice he received from his father.
“My father once told me, first of all you have a lot of talent and are you sure you want to be involved in politics, but if you do make a decision, have the peace of mind that you can put your head on the pillow knowing that you made the right decision.”