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.