Ronk won’t have to travel too far for his new job

Posted 1/3/24

New Town of Shawangunk Supervisor Ken Ronk Jr. doesn’t have to walk too far to the Town Hall.

“I live across the street,” Ronk laughed. “I’ve lived here my whole …

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Ronk won’t have to travel too far for his new job


New Town of Shawangunk Supervisor Ken Ronk Jr. doesn’t have to walk too far to the Town Hall.

“I live across the street,” Ronk laughed. “I’ve lived here my whole life (38 years). Other than for four months when I did an internship in Albany, I’ve lived within 200 yards of this building. I’ve seen good things happen in town and I’ve seen bad things happen in town. I think working together we can make the town better, and that’s my goal.”

After being sworn in by Town Justice Mike Voss on Friday, Ronk said he was looking forward to taking over from longtime Supervisor John Valk, who chose not to run for re-election after serving 26 years as the town’s supervisor.

“We’ve got fantastic town employees and town police officers,” Ronk said. “We really have the best workforce in the county. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for growth and to do things a little bit differently, but we can still keep the same small-town, wonderful feel we have here in Shawangunk.”

Ronk announced he had appointed Councilman Alex Danon to serve as Deputy Supervisor. Danon will take over for Councilman Adrian “Binker” DeWitt, who remains on the Town Board.

Ronk defeated DeWitt 197 to 86 in the Republican primary for supervisor in June 2023. Ronk was unopposed in the general election last November.

Ronk, who spent 16 years representing the Town of Shawangunk in the Ulster County Legislature before deciding to run for supervisor, said he’ll continue to work hard “to make the hamlet of Wallkill and the Town of Shawangunk a better place and leave it a little better than I found it. The last thing I said to County Executive Jen Metzger was, “Don’t forget the Town of Shawangunk.”’

Ronk didn’t hesitate when asked about his top priority now that he’s the town’s top official.

“I know it’s not exciting per se, but the best thing we can do for the town is planning,” he said. “I’ve always found that proper planning prevents poor performance. I want us to get a capital plan together. We need a new highway garage and we need a new police station. There are renovations to this building (town hall) and other buildings needed. We need to invest in our fleet of highway trucks to ensure the roads are safe and paved and plowed properly.”

Since many of his goals require substantial funding, Ronk said he’ll actively pursue grants.

“I want to hire a grant writing company to come in and help us actively pursue grants like other communities do,” he said.

Ronk will continue working for New York State Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay. Ronk runs the Mid-Hudson Regional Office for Barclay.

Former Shawangunk Highway Superintendent Joseph LoCicero and incumbent Brian Amthor both won their races for four-year terms on the board. LoCicero was sworn in on Friday, while Amthor was away on business.

Ronk said he was looking forward to working with the new board.

“We really are going to forge a great team effort to make Shawangunk better,” Ronk said. “One of the hallmarks of my time as supervisor, however long that’s going to be, is that my door is open and that I really want to hear from the people in the town and employees of the town on what they think we could be doing better. And please tell me what I can do better to work for you. That’s what I’m here for.”

LoCicero said he couldn’t wait to start serving on the town board.

“It’s a dream come true,” said LoCicero, who will continue to serve as the president of the Wallkill School Board, a position he has held since 2011. “I worked hard for this and I had a lot of people who supported me. I’m excited to get started.”

LoCicero, who served as the town’s highway superintendent for five years before giving it up to run an unsuccessful campaign for supervisor against Valk in 2021, said his experience as the highway superintendent will be helpful in his dealings with the highway department and its superintendent, Rich Blazeski.

“I know that side of it and I know what Rich is going through,” LoCicero said. “I’m going to be supportive of him and the highway department and we’re going to try to move that department forward. Much further than they are right now. Rich is doing a lot of good work. We just have to find him some extra money.”

Also sworn into office on Friday were Blazeski, Voss, Town Clerk Jane Rascoe and Ulster County Legislators Richard Walls (District 13, Shawangunk) and Legislator Craig Lopez (District 14, Shawangunk, Wawarsing).