The village board loves a law suit. Makes me glad that my tax dollars are going to attorneys rather than, oh, building a new sewer system.
This time, it's about Mayor West's salary. A brief recap on that subject:
In 2007, after unsuccessfully pushing to get his salary boosted to $40,000 a year, Jason West was ousted as mayor after making a name for himself nationwide.
Last year, the village board decided to give themselves raises, for a job well done. Trustee Rhoads swears that any pay changes must be done at budget time, but she has yet to explain to me why none of the candidates the prior year had broached the subject. That Rhoads suggested it was, in large part, why it went through.
This past April, West asked for another 5-digit increase, and instead, the board pulled the rug out from under him. He must have forgotten that he's only ever gotten raises when someone else does the asking. I think he'll remember that now.
I joined with others, mostly supporters of the mayor, in denouncing the pay cuts which, like the raises the year before, I feel were morally reprehensible. Let the voters decide if you're worth some extra cash, or deserve a cut, by proposing the changes before the election. If you want to change someone's pay during their term, it should require a referendum, I believe.
He may irritate as many people as he ensorcels, but West is a studied man, so it's no surprise he found documents suggesting that the pay cut was illegal. The village attorney was asked to chime in and, not surprisingly, found cases to support the pay cut. This is what happens when people write laws to their benefit: elected officials cover their asses, instead of protecting their constituents.
Early this afternoon, I encouraged the board via email to seek another comptroller's opinion. The ones West produced referred to town officials, and they need one specifically addressing villages. And I suggested that they ask about pay raises, as well as cuts, because I certainly don't expect West to go there on his own.
Instead, in an executive session which did not include the mayor, they did nothing. "I was told a majority of the Trustees would rather have a lawsuit," he reported on Facebook.
I am not at all surprised. After all, I pleaded with the board, and the mayor, to get the DPW to dig me a trench for a new sewer line, after an illegally-approved subdivision led to a house being built on my old one. I offered to pay the three grand for the plumber, and wanted the village to dig and fill in the trench. Instead, they told me too bad, so sad, and my wife and I had to sue. Rest assured, the entire debacle cost village taxpayers far more than it would have to simply fix the problem the village created, but some members of the board chose to act out of spite, rather than protect the community.
A "majority" of the board, if there were four in the room, means three votes, correct? So who voted what, I wonder? And will there be accounting of how much this childishness is costing us?