Feller’s public service work continues

By Jared Castañeda
Posted 1/3/24

Ronald Feller, the Town of Montgomery’s former supervisor, concluded his one-year term as supervisor at the end of 2023. His role as supervisor doesn’t paint the whole picture, however, …

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Feller’s public service work continues


Ronald Feller, the Town of Montgomery’s former supervisor, concluded his one-year term as supervisor at the end of 2023. His role as supervisor doesn’t paint the whole picture, however, as Feller has extensively contributed his time and services to the Montgomery community for the past half-century, whether through his volunteer work, his leadership as the town’s parks and recreation director, or showing young baseball players the ropes of the game.

Feller, raised in Washingtonville, graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science and Marist College with a Master of Business Administration. Following his graduation from Villanova in 1968, he joined the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, during which he married his wife and started a family. After he finished his services, Feller and his family moved to Maybrook in 1972 and officially settled in the Village of Montgomery a year later.

“I’ve been in Montgomery for 50 years. All my kids graduated from Valley Central High School, they were all scholar-athletes, and my grandkids went to Valley Central. I was so lucky,” Feller said. “Pretty much my whole life, I’ve been here, and I love it. People are good, they don’t agree with me on everything. But the bottom line is they’re all good people and they all have the best interests of the town at heart.”

Before serving the town board, Feller worked for Con Edison, for 29 years and he commuted between the village and New York City. He was a member of the VFW Post 8691, a member of the Knights of Columbus Councils 2270 and 5890 and a coach for the Montgomery Little League and CYO Basketball. Coaching is one of Feller’s favorite pastimes, and he’s helped numerous young players learn baseball and basketball across four decades.

“I really enjoy coaching. I coached little league for 40 years, I coached my kids and grandkids, and I coached the CYO Basketball for 10 to 12 years,” he said.

Feller and his family also run an annual basketball tournament dedicated to his late daughter, Corinne, who passed away from cancer. Money raised from the tournament goes toward the Corinne Feller Scholarship, which is awarded annually to an exceptional Valley Central graduate.

“I have a memorial basketball tournament which we’ve been running for 24 years,” he explained. “It’s a girls basketball tournament with four local teams, and we have a scholarship fund in my daughter’s name. The Community Foundation of Orange gave out $80,000 to Valley Central graduates for college.”

Serving on Montgomery’s Boards
Feller joined the Town of Montgomery board in 2008 and served as a councilman until 2012. In 2013, he became the director of the town’s parks and recreation department and served until 2017. Feller would return to the town board in 2020 and served two years as a councilman and deputy supervisor along with Brian Maher, a former town supervisor. When Maher became a New York State assemblyman, Feller took on the mantle of supervisor and served this past year.

“Back in 2008, I was encouraged to run as a council member, and I put in four years there. I enjoyed it, but it was an opportunity to go into parks and rec,” Feller said. “I’m a Con Ed engineer-type and I love parks and rec, so I put four years in.”

Overall, Feller felt that he performed very well in his roles on the town board and within the parks and recreation department. Some of his accomplishments include updating the town’s comprehensive plan, expanding the town’s fields, helping the highway department obtain a new garage and investing money toward a new police department building, all while staying within budget.

“A lot of stuff has been done, and a lot of stuff is still in the works but seems to be a slow process. But we’re working on it, we’re getting things moving in the right direction in every part of the game. My staff is fantastic,” he said. “And budget-wise, we were spot on. I think we’re doing pretty good, I’m pretty proud of where we’re at and where we’re going.”

One challenge that Feller faced while in office was realizing that he could not please every resident with his decisions. Once he came to terms with this, he did his best to make fair decisions while still addressing residents’ needs.

“When you have 25,000 people, you can’t keep everybody happy all the time. I came in and I wanted to keep everybody happy, and I found that was pretty much impossible,” he said. “I think if you do what you think is fair and you weigh it and you make the decision, you live with it. On the other hand, if you make the wrong decision or any mistakes, change it. Nobody’s perfect, we just try the best we can.”

Feller also made sure to listen to residents’ concerns, especially about subjects that he was unfamiliar with, helping him expand his viewpoint and make better decisions.

“If you listen attentively and pay attention to what they, you’ll find out there are a lot of different opinions about a lot of different subjects that you may not agree with,” he said. “You find out there are a lot of smart people out there that know a lot more than I know on particular subjects. And if you listen to them and pay attention to what they say, it helps you grow and understand their side.”

Looking to the future
Currently, Feller seeks to fill a one-year term as a legislator for Orange County’s 9th District. The Town of Montgomery and Town of Wallkill boards will hold a joint meeting on Wednesday, January 3 to vote on an appointment for the next legislator, with the likelihood that Feller will be appointed. While he’s unsure if he will run for a full term next year, Feller sees this position as an opportunity to further support the Town of Montgomery and its residents.

“I did meet with the Town of Wallkill people. They asked me if I was interested in a one-year appointment,” Feller said. “So that would probably be one year of my life in the future, see where it goes from there. I’m going to be 78 years old next February, but I do enjoy working for the county, working for the community, working for my town here. So I think I can be an asset in that area.”

Regarding town business, Feller hopes that the board prioritizes the police building project and the parks and recreation department. He suggested that the town could hold fundraisers to help bolster the latter department’s budget, providing funds to expand fields and recreational services.

“My number one goal was to try to make the Town of Montgomery’s recreation department a little bit more in line with the rest of the county. I go around and I see a lot of baseball games on the road,” he said. “But we’re getting there, and we got a young parks and rec director who is going to be actively engaged in supporting parks and rec.”