This Monday, New Paltz village Trustee Sally Rhoads told the Daily Freeman correspondent that she thought Mayor Jason West would be back from his month-long leave of absence this week, “and that ends now.” She said she expected him at the Village Board meeting this Wednesday.
Ain’t gonna happen, at least according to Deputy Mayor Rebecca Rotzler. Rotzler said Tuesday morning that West’s leave was not over until later in the week and that he would not be at the board meeting.
Rotzler has been serving as acting mayor for the past three weeks after West informed his board that he would be taking a month’s paid leave for medical reasons. “I would much rather see us pay our mayor a living wage instead of expensive lawyers when there is no benefit to the village taxpayers,” said Rotzler. “Having covered the office for the past month, it is ridiculous to be pretending that it should be a part-time position.”
Two current board members, Ariana Basco and Sally Rhoads, voted to reduce the mayor’s salary. Rotzler and recently elected board member, Tom Rocco, were not on the board at the time that the salary was first increased to $35,000 and then a year later reduced back to the original amount West inherited when he ran for and was elected mayor in 2011.
New Paltz’s Village Board retained attorney David Wise this past Thursday to defend a lawsuit filed by West, who claims that the village board’s decision in May to reduce his salary from $35,000 to $22,500 was illegal, and that its adoption violated New York State’s Open Meetings Law.