On Friday evening Richard Gerentine was recognized at a special retirement dinner by colleagues, family and friends for his many years of dedicated public service to Ulster County and to the people of his beloved hometown of Marlborough. Gerentine served 8 years as a Councilman and Supervisor of Marlborough and 28 years as an Ulster County Legislator in Kingston. He decided last year to retire, making his last day in office December 31, 2019.
Ulster County Clerk Nina Postupack has along history with Gerentine, meeting him when he first came to the Legislature.
“I have to say, a man of integrity, honesty and really committed to doing what was right by the residents of this county,” she said. “If you needed help and if Rich could help you, he really would. That speaks volumes of the public life he led and the elected official he was. He will truly be missed.”
Ulster County Republican Party Chairman Roger Rascoe presented Gerentine with framed photograph, inscribed with the words, “Congratulations and our heartfelt thanks for your years of service to the Republican Party and to Ulster County.”
Rascoe said, “On behalf of all the folks of Ulster County, we will miss you and we send our best wishes for a prosperous and blessed retirement; congratulations.”
Gerentine also received a New York State Proclamation honoring his service from Sen. James Skoufis and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Certificate from Richard Mayfield, NYS Director for USDA Rural Development.
Gerentine shared the accolades with his fellow Legislators.
“It was a joint venture with all of my co-legislators, department heads and everybody else; it wasn’t just me,” he said. “We had a lot of ups, we had a lot of downs but I think overall we did a very good job for the residents of Ulster County. We try to do our best, we kept taxes very stable, we kept our costs in line and we are very proud of what we’ve done over the years.”
Marlborough Supervisor Al Lanzetta said he has known Gerentine “forever”.
“I think the party is great and I think that anybody who gives 28 years of service is to be commended,” he said.
Lanzetta praised Gerentine’s senior living communities that has provided the town’s senior population a place to live close to their families.
“Marlborough is a place that values the ability of families to stay together and support each other and Mr. Gerentine’s affordable senior housing allows that to happen,” he said, “The Town of Marlborough is grateful for his steadfast commitment to making life better for his constituents and we wish him well in his retirement.”
Dr. Anthony Pascale is Gerentine’s first cousin.
“There is going to be a huge void with Richie leaving. He helped hundreds and hundreds of people out, he got them jobs and he helped people who were in danger of losing their houses from tax events,” Pascale said.
Pascale said politics never entered his mind when it came to helping his constituents.
“His main concern was trying to keep the spending in line, which he always did, and he always tried to make sure that people didn’t lose their jobs. If there needed to be a cut, he tried to balance budgetary concerns with human concerns,” Pascale said. “He was in tune with the people and wasn’t disconnected. He’s just a great person.”
Lloyd Supervisor Fred Pizzuto said it may be near impossible to replace Gerentine because, “he works and works and works.” He praised his senior living communities that, “are five stars, gold-plated; he builds platinum, that’s what he builds and does everything 100 percent.”
Frank Ricciardone reflected on Gerentine’s long service to the town and county.
“He was a hard-working person and he was caring and he understood what the people in Ulster County and Marlborough wanted and he was very attentive to those things in all the years,” he said. “He’s a lovely man.”
Local banker Michael Horodyski met Gerentine when he worked for the NYS Bridge Authority during his college years.
“This [party] is well deserved. He was a true gentleman in politics and somebody I think that has kept a steady road when it has gotten really ugly. I think it is a real testament to him and his personality to navigate different waters every year and still come out on top,” he said. “He was very much do right by his constituents.”
Tom Corcoran ran and won the District 11 seat that was long occupied by Gerentine.
“Obviously big shoes to fill. Rich has been around a long time; a community servant as a Supervisor and Town Councilman and he decided to step up to the county and did what he did there to represent the Town of Marlborough,” he said. “I’ll do the best I can. I met a lot of good people up at the county already [who] are very gracious and willing to take me in and show me the ropes. I’ll do what I have to do to represent Marlborough as well as Richie did.”
Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa presented Gerentine with a Certificate of Appreciation for his Service. He said he has not known Gerentine that long, “but he was one of the first ones to call me after I won the election  and said he looked forward to working with me. He’s been a pretty straight up, forward individual this entire year and I’m here on behalf of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office to appreciate all his time in serving the people of Ulster County.”
Attorney Nicholas Pascale, who serves as the minority counsel in the Ulster County Legislature, has known Gerentine nearly all his life.
“The thing about Richie is he’s a doer. He gets things done, he doesn’t give up. Once he gets his mind on a task, he’s got a single vision and he goes until it gets accomplished. You can’t teach that, it’s something you’ve got ingrained in you,” Pascale said. “Richard has helped countless people and he’s going to be missed.”
Fellow Republican Kevin Roberts has long served with Gerentine in the Legislature.
“I started my career with Rich back in the multi-member districts in 2007,” he said. “There is a large cross-section of people here for Rich going back 20 and 30 years. He’s just a great man. It’s been an honor to serve with Rich and I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him. He helped me get elected the first time and I’m honored to be here with him.”
Marlborough resident Lee Mazzola has known Gerentine since High School.
“His efforts have not been ignored; he’s done a lot of favors for a lot of people and has gone above and beyond the call of duty,” Mazzola said. “I appreciate all that he’s done.”
Joe Porco said, “Rich has always been a committed individual to the community and to the people that he represents and tonight shows how much support that he’s had.”
In a subsequent interview Gerentine said, “I want to thank the people for having confidence in electing me over the years. I think I worked very hard for them and did many positive things for the people of Marlborough and Ulster County residents themselves.”
Gerentine said at times his business background paid off, with saving the Ellenville Hospital, that today is an economic boost to the area, and serving on the Ways and Means Committee in the Legislature - “utilizing my talents to try to make Ulster County a better place to live.”