With a Charter form of government in Ulster County, the executive authority is vested in an independently elected County Executive who is responsible for the proper administration of all County affairs. The County Executive is elected to a 4-year term. As the chief executive, some of the County Executive’s authorities include:
- Serving as the chief budgetary officer of the County, and as such, preparing and submitting the annual budget, capital program, and accompanying message;
- Appointing all department heads and other officers and employees;
- Supervising and directing every executive department of County government;
- Conducting collective bargaining negotiations with the legally designated bargaining agents of the county employees;
- Approving or vetoing in writing every proposed local law, and the appropriate resolutions.
County Executive Jen Metzger
Jen Metzger was elected as Ulster County’s 3rd County Executive in November 2022, and serves as the first elected woman Ulster County Executive. She is an Ulster County resident of over 21 years, with extensive experience in local and state government, international affairs, and community advocacy. Jen believes in ‘thinking globally and acting locally,’ and leverages hard work, a collaborative spirit, and a patient, solutions-oriented approach to build opportunities and overcome challenges for Ulster County residents and businesses.
After graduating from Oberlin College with High Honors, Jen began her career at the United Nations Association, where she organized hearings for the first international negotiations on climate change. Afterwards, she taught college courses in political science, environmental policy, political economy, and international relations at Rutgers University, where she earned her PhD in Political Science.
Jen served for more than a decade in local government in the Town of Rosendale, first as Deputy Town Supervisor and then as a Town Councilmember. She also served as the Chair of the Rosendale Environmental Commission and Co-Chair of the Ulster County Community Energy Program Working Group. While serving in local government, Jen also co-founded and directed Citizens for Local Power, an organization dedicated to fighting unfair utility rates and practices and helping communities shift to a locally-based clean energy economy.
In 2018, Jen was elected to the New York State Senate, where she fought for resources and legislative solutions to address the urgent and ongoing needs of our Ulster County communities, including broadband access, housing, mental health support for youth and for veterans, and environmental protection. Jen chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee, prioritizing support for small and family farms, farm-to-school, farmland preservation, and regenerative agriculture. She was a leading voice for tackling climate change, moving away from reliance on fossil fuels, and increasing job-creating clean energy investments, and helped to pass legislation to protect reproductive health decisions and LGBTQ neighbors from discrimination, institute early voting and other election reforms, enact common-sense gun laws, and help protect our children’s future through the most forward-looking climate law in the nation.
In 2021, Jen was appointed to serve on the five-member New York State Cannabis Control Board, charged with developing and overseeing New York’s cannabis programs, working to build a new regulated industry grounded in principles of public health, equity, and sustainability. She also served as Policy Director for the non-profit New Yorkers for Clean Power, working to ensure that our state government implements the ambitious climate law she worked to pass while in the Senate, and that it does so in partnership with local communities.
Jen lives in Rosendale with her husband, John Schwartz, and they have three sons, Gideon, Jasper, and Silas.