Mayor West and his raise

Just sent off this e-mail to one of New Paltz’s more statesman-like community leaders regarding this past Wednesday night’s Village Board meeting that featured, according to one report, three hours of public input on mayor Jason West’s request for another raise and health benefits–

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For the third Village Board meeting in a row, there was no broadcast on public access. So I missed the proceedings.

Three meetings ago, the audio was “scratched” and you couldn’t make it out. The video wasn’t much better. Unwatchable.

Two meetings ago, there simply was no broadcast. Just the blue screen with the channel 23 schedule.

On Wednesday night, there was a broadcast on at 7:30, but it was a tape of the “Concerned Parents of New Paltz” meeting from mid-August. (A scheduling conflict down at Time-Warner that no one caught on to, apparently). When that ended a little after 8 p.m., nothing. Just the blue screen with the schedule, again.

I’m sure it was just a coincidence that these were the meetings where this salary proposal came on the agenda.

But I will say that this sort of breakdown of an expected service should have stirred the “tireless” public officials of the Village Board to move heaven and earth, whether it involved Time-Warner or equipment problems, to beg, borrow, or steal what was necessary to get at least this last meeting on the air.

Needless to say, I will get only [New Paltz Times reporter] Erin Quinn’s version of the meeting, with its usual balanced report on the trials of the heroic mayor, along with the usual heroic photograph.

There was, however, this curious account posted to WikiPaltz, which reports the essential fact that there will be no raise and health benefits for the Mayor, for now, and that your group apparently succeeded in getting “task forces” (plural) to explore dissolving the village or, alternatively, appointing a village manager.

Both strike me as civil sublimations of the antagonisms toward West and his board. In other words, “we’d rather get rid of the village or effectively neuter your job than give you another inch.”

I wonder if he got the message? To have his “perfectly reasonable request” for another raise and health benefits met with “task forces” to consider obliterating the municipality he governs or simply removing all duties that would justify such a request must have been quite a shock to his system.

That WikiPaltz report also assures us that Jason is one in solidarity with his working class brothers (members of the Department of Public Works showed up to pronounce him a working man) and that the “community” was unified in the enlightened belief that no mayor should be expected to hold the position without taxpayer funded health care benefits.

No mention was made, in that brief account, of anyone raising the question of Jason knowing what the compensation package consisted of when he ran for the job, or that it was clear that someone seeking the job needed his own principal source of income.

I await Ms. Quinn’s pained expressions of disappointment next week, for further clarification.
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