Hembury tosses hat into Montgomery mayoral race

By Jared Castañeda
Posted 1/10/24

The Village of Montgomery board, during its January 2 meeting, passed a resolution for a special election to be held on Tuesday, March 19 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the Montgomery Senior Center at …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Hembury tosses hat into Montgomery mayoral race


The Village of Montgomery board, during its January 2 meeting, passed a resolution for a special election to be held on Tuesday, March 19 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the Montgomery Senior Center at 36 Bridge Street. Residents will have the opportunity to vote for candidates to fill two vacant seats on the board: one for a new village mayor, and another for a village trustee.

Randi Picarello, a village trustee, announced last month that she will be running for mayor. Since then, two more candidates have come forward: Mike Hembury for mayor and Kevin Conero for village trustee. A second trustee candidate, Cynthia Nokland, has created a Facebook page in support of her candidacy and is inviting residents to sign her petition to appear on the March 19 ballot. More on her campaign will appear in upcoming weeks.

Mike Hembury for Mayor
Hembury, a village trustee who has served on the board for 13 years, seeks to become the next village mayor. As a 42-year resident who adores Montgomery and volunteers in several community events, such as the annual Operation Toy Train, Hembury hopes to curb overdevelopment and protect the village’s space and aesthetics.

“I have a serious problem with development coming into the village and telling us what is best for us. If you make a wrong decision, that’s permanent,” Hembury said. “I just want to keep the village the way it is, it’s beautiful. I love this village, I love everything about it. I never had anything like this.”

Hembury was born and raised in the Bronx before he and his wife moved to Orange County in 1981. He served as a police officer for the City of Newburgh Police Department for 21 years, a police officer for Westchester, a correction officer for both the Green Haven Correctional Facility and the Fishkill Correctional Facility, and a senior investigator for the U.S. Mint Department of Treasury.

“My wife Sue and I moved up here 40 years ago when I took a job as a police officer with the City of Newburgh Police Department,” he wrote in a March 2021 letter to the editor. “ After a full tour of duty, plus overtime in an extremely busy department, the 20 minute ride home was so refreshing, and I appreciated pulling into my driveway.

“We have to be very, very careful to protect this village, as it is the jewel of the Hudson Valley,” he added. “There is no way that I would ever let the wrong thing or questionable development happen to this village. I have too much to lose.”

Hembury was also heavily involved in the Valley Central School District and served on both the PTA and PTO, the safety committee for the Valley Central Elementary School and the Valley Central High School Grant Council. He also worked with the Eagle Girl Scouts when his daughter was a member.

Kevin Conero for Trustee

Conero, a resident and chairman of the village’s planning board, was appointed last month to finish former trustee Walter Linder’s term after he resigned. Conero has worked in several departments over the past 30 years, including the ZBA, the Comprehensive Plan Committee and the Historic Guidelines Update Committee. He’s also served as General Montgomery Day’s coordinator and has worked with a New York Grant consultant to bring revitalization to the village. He wishes to further contribute to the community as a full-time trustee.

“Over the last 30 years, I have served our community well by administering our zoning codes while Chairman of the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals,” Conero wrote in his announcement. “I also have worked together on committees with our residents on the Comprehensive Plan, Historic Design Guidelines, Downtown Revitalization and General Montgomery Day. Moving forward, I want to continue serving our community, but in a leadership capacity.”

“I am excited about this new opportunity to serve our community and would be honored to have your support,” he added.

Conero was originally from Highland Falls before he eventually moved to Walden and the Village of Montgomery, and he graduated from Valley Central High School in 1988. Outside of his municipal work, Conero is a full-time network communication specialist who has helped numerous K12 schools with technology initiatives for 37 years, including the New Paltz Central School District and Ulster BOCES.

Currently, one of Conero’s biggest projects is coordinating plans and solutions for the village’s water supply following the building moratorium that passed last month.