With the ascension of longtime councilwoman Jen Metzger to the New York State Senate, the Town of Rosendale needed to find someone to fill her seat for one year. The last time a Town Board shuffle occurred, supervisor Jeanne Walsh tapped veteran town employee and volunteer Frank Klepeis to step in. This time, she reached out to his son Ernest Klepeis, who directed Rosendale’s Youth Program and summer camp in 2015, and he agreed. “I want to be a member of a good board, after seeing the good work they’ve been doing,” the younger Klepeis said.
Klepeis began his tenure at the first Rosendale Town Board meeting of 2019, on January 2, simultaneously with Metzger’s swearing-in to statewide office. He was immediately appointed liaison to the Tax Collector, Assessor’s Office, Assessment Board of Review, Rosendale Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Commission, Food Pantry, Town Historian, Streetlight Replacement and Energy Issues.
A Rosendale native, Klepeis attended Kingston High School and attained degrees in Philosophy and Visual/Performing Arts at Vermont’s Green Mountain College. He went on to an internship for Vermont governor Peter Shumlin, working on healthcare policy and constituent services. Upon his return to the Hudson Valley after graduation, he worked on the reelection campaigns of congressman Sean Patrick Maloney in 2014 and 2016 and on elections for the comptroller and legislative seats in Dutchess County in 2017. At present, Klepeis is wearing two professional hats: as deputy commissioner for the Ulster County Board of Elections and as site manager for the Kingston Farmers’ Market.
Of his philosophy as a new councilman, Klepeis said, “One of the biggest challenges facing small municipal governments is building a sustainable fiscal base that serves its residents and provides adequate funding for staff, programming and infrastructure. Part of that is promoting and encouraging business and economic growth in our town. As an organizer in politics, I’ve been able to bring people to the table to discuss important issues and find solutions to challenges facing communities. I plan to continue that work with the Rosendale Town Board by continuing the town’s record of transparent financial governing and promotion of its responsible use of tax dollars. I believe that any government official should remain open and responsive to the constituents they serve, and I’ve committed to do just that.”
The new recruit will hold the Town Board position until the end of 2019, when an election will be held to determine who will fill out the remaining two years of Metzger’s term. “The next election for this seat would be 2021 for the full four-year term,” Klepeis explained.