Board of Trustees Request Mayor’s Email Correspondence

Creative Commons in New Paltz

Tension between the New Paltz village mayor Jason West and the board of trustees led the trustees to request copies of email correspondence between the mayor and village employees.

“The emails that you sent to trustees and department heads are atrocious and the language you use when you speak to us is horrific and I can’t see any professionalism,” said trustee Brian Kimbiz to West at the Jan. 23 Village Board meeting.

At that meeting, the trustees voted to direct the village treasurer, clerk, planner, building inspector and head of the Department of Public Works to hand over email conversations between themselves and the mayor dating back to January 2012.

Trustee Sally Rhoads acknowledged that a review of these emails by the trustees is ongoing but declined to comment further.

A source who works with village trustees reported that the trustees considered seeking West’s removal from office after reviewing those emails but that no action has been taken so far.

According to New York State law, any village resident can petition a judge in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court to seek a mayor’s removal from office for “any misconduct, maladministration, malfeasance or malversation in office.”

Regarding whether the Trustees are considering petitioning the court for West’s removal, Rhoads said, “absolutely not.”

Disagreement between West and trustees has centered on what Rhoads described as West’s abrasive management style.

In the midst of a contentious debate on the issue of merging the town and village governments, Rhoads resigned from her post as deputy mayor and trustee Ariana Basco publicly denounced West in January.

“I didn’t want to be associated with the mayor’s behavior,” said Rhoads of her resignation.

West has been critical of a report put together by a committee that Rhoads served on which analyzed the financial impact of consolidation.

“If there are outright contradictions within the report itself, then that’s a problem for me,” West said at a recent board meeting.

West also criticized trustees Kimbiz and Stewart Glenns over what he called their poor “work ethic.”

“The major issue for me is that I see much more potential than this board is using,” West said. “This collection of people is quite possibly the most gifted constellation of people I have ever served with and yet has accomplished much less than any other board I’ve ever served on.”

West posted a message to the “New Paltz” Facebook group where he stated that he would not be supporting either Kimbiz or Glenn in the village’s May elections if they chose to seek re-election.

“I guess I just found it very difficult to believe that anyone, including [Mayor West], who’s been involved with me in office would think that I have a poor work ethic,” Glenn said.

Roberto LoBianco

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