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Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort to leave position for private sector job

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort
Lucas Willard
Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort

Montgomery County’s first county executive will leave his position at the end of the month. The Republican is being praised as a unifying voice in county government.

Matt Ossenfort, Montgomery County’s first elected county executive, assumed his position in January 2014.

Serving four-year terms, Ossenfort was re-elected twice. In his State of the County address last week, marking 10 years of the county’s form of government, Ossenfort announced that the speech could be his last.

“It’s been a great joy to get to know you, to get to know your families, it’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said Ossenfort. “But I know that things have to change.”

News of Ossenfort’s departure was first reported by the Daily Gazette. The newspaper said that the Republican will leave for a job at the Arthur J. Gallagher insurance company.

The news of Ossenfort leaving elected office came after the father of an 8-year-old daughter told WAMC he had already started looking at employment elsewhere.

“One thing I can say for sure is that I know that I am not going to go immediately go into any other elected roles. I would like to try my hand at being a normal human again,” said Ossenfort.

Prior to the Ossenfort’s first term, Montgomery County functioned under a Board of Supervisors form of government.

County Sheriff Jeffrey Smith says Ossenfort, under the county charter, made a huge difference in Montgomery County.

“As a guy who has been here through the other form of government, before we started this, the differences we have today are incredible,” said Smith. “Our equipment is in better shape, our employees are paid better, the atmosphere is better, we ‘ve got new buildings, all that stuff, while keeping taxes pretty status-quo.”

Last month, Montgomery County saw the launch of a county-run EMS service, through the sheriff’s department – an initiative that Smith says even he was initially skeptical about.

Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties, helped write the Montgomery County charter. He spoke at Ossenfort’s event last week.

“Ultimately, the first county executive sets the stage for future leaders, shaping the trajectory of the county’s growth and prosperity. It’s a big challenge and not for the faint of heart. I didn’t know Matt ten years ago, but I’m proud to know him. I know that as he finishes his final term, he will have accomplished the basic but sacred task of leaving this place better than he found it,” said Acquario.

Ossenfort will leave on April 30th. Upon his exit, Deputy County Executive Matthew Beck will assume the role of county executive. The county legislature will have the authority to appoint an acting county executive.

In November, a special election will be held to select a county executive to serve the remainder of Ossenfort’s term, which expires at the end of 2025. In November 2025, another election will be held to fill the next full four-year term.

Sheriff Smith says Ossenfort set a high bar for the county executive position.

“It’s gonna create a void. And the next person coming in has large shoes to fill, and we hope we have the same relationship with the next person,” said Smith.


Montgomery Co. Executive Matt Ossenfort speaks with Lucas Willard about his decision to leave his position
Montgomery Co. Executive Matt Ossenfort speaks with Lucas Willard about his decision to leave his position

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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