Jason West claims his reduction in pay was “illegal”

The New Paltz Village Board (L-R): Ariana Basco, Rebecca Rotzler, Jason West, Tom Rocco and Sally Rhoads. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

The New Paltz Village Board (L-R): Ariana Basco, Rebecca Rotzler, Jason West, Tom Rocco and Sally Rhoads. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Mayor Jason West said that he’s typically an “off-the-cuff” speaker in public, but at last Wednesday’s Village Board meeting he read a prepared statement in which he quoted two New York State comptroller’s reports, as well as several New York State legal precedents that claimed that it was “illegal” to reduce a Town supervisor’s salary while he or she was in office. This was in response to a late-night decision by four members of his previous board — two of whom did not seek reelection and two of whom are still on the board — to make a motion not only to deny his proposed $13,000 salary increase, but also to reduce his position and pay to that of a part-time employee, from $35,000 to $21,000.

The mayor very calmly read portions of the legal documents in his possession and not only asked that the board reinstate his $35,000 full-time pay, but also claimed that the board members had committed an act of legal injustice by doing what they did.


Trustee Sally Rhoads, who was the person who pushed for the mayoral position to be classified and compensated as “full-time” at a proposed $35,000 salary last year, was the first person to ask that the board not only deny his proposed raise, but to roll back his salary to part-time during its last meeting before approving the village budget. She asked village attorney Joe Eriole to look into the case law that the mayor had brought before the board, but also to “look into whether or not we made an illegal decision by voting to increase his salary mid-term.”

Mayor West said, “There is nothing in any of these comptroller decisions or case law that discusses the legality of increasing a salary — only of decreasing it.”

Trustee Ariana Basco noted that “The documents we have here deal only with town government and not village. There are separate rules for town/village/cities…”

West said that she was correct, but that he believed strongly that the decisions rendered by the New York State comptroller and case laws would “support my belief that what you did was illegal.”

The board voted to ask the attorney to look into the legality or lack thereof in regard to increasing or decreasing a mayor’s salary mid-term and to report back at their next Village Board meeting on Wednesday, June 19. West abstained.

There are 8 comments

  1. Adrian

    I’m glad I live in Gardiner with the farce that is going on in New Paltz. This seems to be a case of sour grapes from current and former town trustees who have suddenly taken a dislike to Jason West.

    1. Ron Turner

      There are village trustees, and there are town council members, but never the twain shall meet.

      1. Adrian

        Ron you can call them whatever you like , it is still a shambles for a village /town of the size of New Paltz…

        …and isn’t that half the problem , why does a community of this size need two governmental bodies.

        1. Ron Turner

          Dear Adrian,

          The Laws of the State of New York differentiates between municipal governments in those words, not Ol’ Ron? Have to have a meeting of the minds somewhere, and the language of the Laws of the State of New York seem to be as good a place as any, I would say. If the Mayor is calling hisself a “supervisor” because some jack-leg lawyer has instructed him to do so, and to top it off, the paper prints that as a “fact” how is the public being served? Don’t answer that.

          Ten people on two different governments for a total population of 14,000 people is not the limit of the law either. Each board independently can have five, seven or even nine members, which would then total 18 elected officials for 14,000? That’s the lawr.

          As to New Paltz being a “shambles” you should see my house?


  2. Michael Russo

    Trustee Basco’s comment in the article is incorrect. The court held that Municipal Home Rule Law §23(2)(e) is the controlling law for this question, and this section of the law pertains to both Towns and Villages in New York. The link to the State Controller’s opinion and reference to the Sacco v Maruca court decision is here:

    The pertinent section of the law is here:

  3. REALLY?

    Jason was doing all he could to increase his salary the first time on office. Now that he was reelected, he is still trying to increase his salary. It would be nice, if he actually put forth that effort into running the village instead of trying to pad his pockets.

  4. Yes really

    Yeah….trying to have a livable wage is surely padding his pockets (sarcasm).

    The fact that Im several years younger than this guy, working low level in a company, and making more than a mayor of a town like NP that has a college like SUNY there, says A LOT about things.

    The dude is being low balled like hell. He could just say screw it and leave the town government to crumble.

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