New Paltz Deputy Supervisor Daniel Torres announced at last week’s town board meeting that he will be leaving the town council “in the next few weeks or months,” after close to a decade on that board.
Torres explained in the announcement that the decision to leave early comes as a result of increasing responsibilities working on Pat Ryan’s congressional staff. Torres currently serves as Ryan’s deputy chief of staff and was Ryan’s assistant deputy county executive from May 2019 through September 2022. Torres started his political career in 2009 when he was elected as a trustee to the New Paltz Board of Education. He served in that role until 2012.
The deputy supervisor explained that the role has “changed in a good way,” adding, “I could continue, but I wouldn’t be able to focus fully” on local issues. “I want to work with the supervisor on the timing,” but the last date will probably be during the summer. Noting that the remaining council members will have to appoint a replacement until the November 2024 elections, Torres invited residents who are interested to contact Supervisor Neil Bettez.
Changing of the guard
During last week’s meeting, New Paltz Town Board members also talked about several figures in the machinery of the municipality who will need to be replaced, as they are moving on from their positions. Council members accepted the resignation — actually effective as of this past March — of building inspector Stacy Delarede and spoke about how longtime court officer Scott Schulte will no longer be able to serve in that role.
Torres has served longer on the town council than anyone presently in office, but Delarede worked in the building department longer still. Such is Delarede’s commitment to the work that the now-retired building inspector has been donating time to get several pieces of legislation passed after years of work. At the May 4 meeting, Delarede was updating council members on changes to the accessory dwelling unit proposal, for which a public hearing is now scheduled for May 18. Delarede sees this as a way to leverage a lot of institutional knowledge, perhaps for the last time, by helping get this and other laws passed. The number of names on the building inspector civil service list is quite short, and Bettez has been casting a wider net by searching for applicants who are municipal planners or have other experience that might be suited to the de facto supervisory role Delarede filled in that office.
The exit of Schulte was raised during a conversation with Rhett Weires, one of the town justices, about how to attract applicants for that role. Outside of Schulte, who has been a constant presence in the courts for many years, there has been fairly high turnover, Weires said. The pay for this armed position has been set at $18 an hour for at least the past ten years; the typical rate around the county is $22 or higher. With the court “back up and running with volume,” according to Weires, council members agreed to raise the rate to $25 an hour.