Commission members were selected from a pool of interested parties representing the various geographic areas of the County and were selected as follows:

Two by the Majority Leader of the Legislature
Two by the Minority Leader of the Legislature

These four members then chose the remaining three members.

Below you can learn about the seven Commissioners.
Vernon Benjamin of Saugerties is a writer, consultant, and educator who served on the Ulster County Legislature from 1984-89 and has had an extensive background in government and public service. He currently serves the town of Saugerties as a consultant on economic development and other matters.
Paul Benkert was born and raised in Kingston, New York. He is a graduate of Kingston High School, Class of 1986.  Paul founded Allways Moving and Storage in Kingston in 1990, Allways Self Storage in 1998 and Benkert Realty, a Commercial Real Estate Company, in 1999. Paul has resided in Highland since 1999 with his wife Alison and his three children, Emily 11, Sean 9 and Ashley 8.
Michael Catalinotto is the senior partner of the Albany and Saugerties law firm of Maynard, O'Connor, Smith & Catalinotto. He is admitted to practice in the State of New York and is a member of the New York State, American, Albany County and Ulster County Bar Associations. Catalinotto is a graduate of New York University and the Columbia Law School.

He is a former member of the New York State Advisory Committee on the Civil Practice Law and Rules, and the College Council of the State University of New York at New Paltz and is a former chairman of the Kingston Hospital Board of Trustees.

An active member of the Saugerties community, he is a former town justice, town attorney and former member of the Ulster County Ethics Committee. He has served as president of the Saugerties Rotary Club and member and advocate of the Saugerties Council of the Knights of Columbus, the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce and the Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce.
Cynthia Lowe has been the Director of the Community Foundation of Ulster County since November, 2007. Prior to that position she was a member of the senior management of a community bank in Orange County for fifteen years. She is a Certified Public Accountant and was a practicing accountant In Kingston for ten years. She is currently the Chair of Finance and incoming Chair of the Board of HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley. She is the treasurer of Friends of Historic Kingston and a member of the Kingston Sunrise Rotary Club. Cynthia and her husband Glenn Sutherland have lived in the Town of Ulster for over 20 years.
Richard Messina lives in Marlboro and is married with 3 children and 5 grandchildren. He is a 20 year member with the Marlboro - Milton Lions club, a 20 year member with the Marlboro Hose Company, a 20 year member of Marlboro Unico and has been on the Board of Directors for 17 years and is still very active with the organization. Richard is currently Chairman for Cooley's Anemia in his hometown area. He was involved with Marlboro Youth Baseball and started the Girls Softball program. Richard is employed as sales manager for a construction company, and is not involved with any political party.
Dare Thompson is the President of the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region, a past president of the LWV of Rhode Island and a past Vice President of the LWV of Ohio, and a former member of two strategic planning committees of the national LWV. She has served as executive director of three non-profit arts organizations since 1982.
William West is a resident of Woodstock. He has been active in numerous local and County civic organizations, in addition to serving as an officer of a national trade association. He has served as Town Supervisor and Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature. William has been a member of the Board of Directors of several banks and an insurance company. Currently, he is semiretired from the family business. William is a graduate of SUNY Oswego and served in the US Army for 18 months over seas.