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Jul 9, 2014 9:24 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

New Westhampton Beach Mayor Seeks Pay Increase

Jul 9, 2014 10:26 AM

Before she was sworn into office on Monday, Westhampton Beach Village Mayor Maria Moore had already begun a push to double her salary—a move that would put her first year’s pay on par with her predecessor’s starting salary.

Last week, Ms. Moore began exploring options for increasing her annual salary from $12,562 to $25,000, which would return the salary back to what it was before former Mayor Conrad Teller voluntarily took a pay cut in 2010.

But because the mayor’s salary has already been set in the $9.76 million budget for 2014-15, and since Mr. Teller’s cut was ratified by a Village Board resolution, reversing it could prove to be arduous from a legal perspective.

“We’re looking into what has to be done,” Ms. Moore said after Monday night’s Village Board meeting. “The salary was what Mayor Teller had, and the mayor before him, Mayor [Robert] Strebel. Mayor Teller volunteered to take less for personal reasons.

“I believe that the salary is what it was before,” she continued. “It was never changed—he just voluntarily accepted less.”

Westhampton Beach Village Clerk Elizabeth Lindtvit said once the budget is set and approved, it cannot be changed until the next budget cycle.

Ms. Moore maintains that the mayor’s salary never actually changed, but rather Mr. Teller simply elected not to take the full amount. That opinion runs counter to the past three village budgets, each of which is available online. Those spending plans state plainly that the mayor’s salary has remained at or below $12,562 since the 2011-12 budget. In 2010-11, the mayor was paid $12,568.94 and, in 2009-10, he collected $24,930.71.

Each of the four Village Board members—Hank Tucker, Patricia DiBenedetto, Ralph Urban and Charlie Palmer—are set to receive salaries of $5,710 this fiscal year, which began on July 1. Elected officials in the village receive health and dental benefits while in office, Ms. Lindtvit said, and those who serve for 10 years or more can keep those benefits for life.

Ms. Lindtvit said Ms. Moore has been looking into changing her salary since early last week. The clerk added that if the mayor is able to reinstate the old salary, it likely wouldn’t go into effect until next month.

Westhampton Beach Village Attorney Richard Haefeli said he was unaware of the new mayor’s push to raise her salary when questioned about it this week. “I haven’t heard anything about that, so I have no comment at this time,” he said.

Mr. Teller, meanwhile, said it is his understanding that the budget passed earlier this spring, which was approved by the entire board, cannot be altered now that it has been signed into law. He also pointed out that he voluntarily cut his salary in 2010 because the board was forced to make salary cuts to balance the budget, and he thought it would only be fair to cut his own as well.

“I did it because I was negotiating and cutting salaries, so I figured I might as well start by cutting my own,” he said. “But I guess I’m just stupid that way.”

Mr. Teller added that his former opponent should have let people know that she would seek a higher salary during the campaign.

“She should have said that when she was running for office,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it. When you’re running on transparency of office, you should say that you plan on increasing your own salary.”

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 9, 14 10:13 AM
Wow ! Now we get a realistic view of what the " breath of fresh air" new mayor is all about. Next thing you know she's gonna want to change the amount of years for permanent benefits to two, this way she is guaranteed to get them. She should be starting her tenure in office by doing what is required of her rather than worrying about her salary and "what's in it for me attitude". She could start by learn Roberts Rules to learn that it takes "moore" than smiling at the camera when it comes on to run ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 9, 14 10:23 AM
This is a very positive sign from the new Mayor. She wastes no time in setting the agenda that will define her administration - and her legacy. She's already making sure to properly manage the message so that everybody understands her priorities. It's refreshing to have someone in charge who has a clarity of purpose, and who sets a good example with her single minded focus on her own salary... Wait, what?
By nutbeem (27), Westhampton on Jul 9, 14 10:52 AM
2 members liked this comment
Realistic - you said it best.... And I quote:

"....Beachbme- Holywood- Did i hit a sensitive cord? A relative of your? Were you on the "friends and family" plan of the Mayor also?

Lets see nothing personal with me its just when MY tax dollars are being spent I expect conservatism- responsibility. Afterall both Teller-Dean- Haefeli have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers."

So does Moore not have a fiduciary responsibilty to the taxpayers? Is it YOUR tax dollars ...more
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jul 9, 14 11:37 AM
3 members liked this comment
This must be what Ms. Moore meant when she campaigned that she would reallocate Village resources for the benefit of the residents. This is her first act as mayor-elect even before she is Mayor?
By Alterius (19), Westhampton Beach on Jul 9, 14 11:38 AM
2 members liked this comment
Wow...you can't make this stuff up
By TheGoodLife (43), Westhampton Beach on Jul 9, 14 12:43 PM
She can triple her salary for all i care as long as the performance is in line, the Village gets cleaned out, and moves seriously forward. Lets reflect back in a year to see where things go. If they dont go well the Voters will speak again. You might even see me running got Mayor, Keep this post since I will work for free but will clean house of the Village Hall- and anyone who takes afvantage of the taxpayers the way Teller and Dean did.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jul 9, 14 1:05 PM
I think beachbme11978 has it right and you (realistic) are really (pun intended) Tom Moore (Maria's husband) or Joan Levan.

However, if she can get a new supermarket built or convince waldbaums to renovate/expand, restart the redevelopment at the (former) bowling alley, trim the police force and other unnecessary head counts, and move a waste water treatment plan forward - all those votes for her will not have been in vain and she will have earned a raise.
By winkelby (38), westhampton on Jul 9, 14 2:45 PM
some breath of fresh air.....
By bettyboo (38), Westhampton on Jul 9, 14 1:09 PM
I can't believe it!!!! She knew what the salary was before she became mayor. She should have waited until next year but then isn't she a lawyer?
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Jul 9, 14 1:29 PM
I guess minimum wage is just unacceptable to some people.
By Mr. Z (11843), North Sea on Jul 9, 14 1:49 PM
You people kill me. But it's Ok to give the lazy police chief $230K and the equally lazy cops $130? Giving the Mayor an extra 12 grand to clean up the joke this village has become seems more than fair to me.
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Jul 9, 14 1:53 PM
The new mayor deserves her chance at fulfilling her campaign promises. Lets all remember, that sometimes promises can't be kept. As far as her desire for the higher salary, I feel that in six months when the new budget is being prepared, she may be entitled to it. I wish her luck, and invite all of the negative commentors, and those who still want to dwell on Ex-Chief Dean, and Mayor Tellers to look to the future, and not to the past! Also, I challenge you to show up to the next village meetings ...more
By terk1928 (11), Westhampton Beach on Jul 9, 14 3:24 PM
I am at most of them. Follow all the events. Keep a keen eye on whats going on. Save it. two years is not that far away.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jul 9, 14 3:41 PM
Nazznazz you must be thinking about the Chief in Easthampton cause the chiefs salary here was 167,000 plus some but not near 230,000 which is once again on the low end for around here.
Now Realistic did we hit a nerve, triple the salary, taking on or should I say taking out all of village hall, the anger. What happened to the fiduciary responsibility you spewed. The breath of fresh air mayor has only spent an hour in village hall, only to seek a raise shouldn't that be earned. Like you said ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 9, 14 3:29 PM
Here is what I see happening-Ms Moore ask for a raise which is denied; Ms Moore will sue and the raise will be denied again, but the cost of defending the suit will be more than the $12,000 Ms Moore is asking for. Net net the Village loses. WHB should become a reality TV series
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 9, 14 4:52 PM
Obviously Ms Moore never spent enough time around Village Hall to realize what the Mayor's salary was and now she is upset.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 9, 14 5:11 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 9, 14 5:11 PM
Public service?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 9, 14 8:07 PM
Just another self serving LIAR. To go for the money grab immediately without proving her worth is disturbing. A Recall should be on the works
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Jul 9, 14 9:40 PM
2 members liked this comment
This is actually funny-the mayor will get $250/wk. The hours devoted to being mayor will equal less than minimum wage. Ms Moore should have done her homework before running.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 10, 14 6:12 AM
What you people don't get is that the salary is $25k and she just wants it restored.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Jul 10, 14 7:37 AM
People do get that - it's fine to restore it AFTER she has actually worked, after she has achieved some of her campaign promises then address your salary -show the people you are actually working for them and not yourself- making your first official duty in office about your salary is pretty self-serving.
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jul 10, 14 8:52 AM
And restore it she may do, legally, with the next budget. It's the principle of the matter, not wanting someone to work for less. Further, the salary was public record before she ran, you'd think a candidate would have done his/her homework.
By bettyboo (38), Westhampton on Jul 10, 14 10:37 AM
Why does everyone see this as a raise, the last Mayor decided to cut his salary in half,why should our New Mayor have to accept that . does anyone in this village really think our Mayor should make 12000 to run our village. We do not need a discounted Mayor, she is entitled to the full salary . The village now can cut back on wasting money attacking local businesses on frivolous law suits and paying attorneys fees a 190 .00 to attack an ice cream cone. Our last Mayor Wasted taxpayer 's money ...more
By Shock (48), on Jul 10, 14 8:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
How has this new Mayor shown to the people who elected her - thankfully, I am not 1 of them that she is going to do "Moore" than Mayor Teller? She has been in office for only a few short days, she held over every thing on her calendar at her first meeting and the first order of business she chooses to handle is her salary? It's fine that she wants the salary restored- no one is saying it should not be, but how about she logs some hours gets some "progress" done then worries about her salary when ...more
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jul 10, 14 8:49 AM
Maybe Shock if you just followed the law in the first place with all your illegal signs and parking your truck and bicycle illegally all over the village and then fighting it in court these lawyer fees wouldn't be needed in the first place. Almost all buisnesses except for a couple others besides yourself ( you can read which three, they are always in the paper) have no problems and always do what is necessary to fall within the code. Pay your fine and move on, get over yourself or move your buisnesses ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 10, 14 10:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
PS speaking if wasting tax payer money you new Mayor wasted huge tax payer dollars in the time of a few hundred thousand with her and her significant others unsuccessful fight against the lights at the High School. These lights bring the whole community together like nothing else does in this village and helps all the local restaurants like no other event this village has.
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 10, 14 10:26 AM
Every Mayor since Bob Strebel has been paid $25,000. Teller claims he took a pay cut because "he couldn't ask others to do so unless he did". During his entire tenure at Village Hall, every single employee got an annual raise, whether deserved or not...NO ONE TOOK A PAY CUT. Perhaps the underlying reason for the cut was for pension and tax purposes. I, for one, would rather pay a Mayor $25,000 who will do something for this Village, then pay $12,500 for someone who did nothing positive in all of ...more
By 313758 (8), westhampton on Jul 10, 14 9:21 AM
Enact her agenda then and don't table appointments. She should've been working on appointments that help the village, instead of working on how to get the full salary for herself, she is suppose to be working for us not herself that's what public service is.
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 10, 14 10:53 AM
She has been in office for 3 days, give her a break. I guess you are saying that all people who work in public service should not be paid.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Jul 10, 14 2:36 PM
Never said that, just saying that instead of worrying about her salary she should be working with everybody in Village hall and familiarizing herself with the goings on instead of spending an hour and taking up other peoples time to figure out how to circumvent the budget and get more money for herself. Her priorities are not in order she has a whole year to figure out how to get the money until she can just put it into next years budget. For someone who campaigned on fiscal responsibility and salaries ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 10, 14 4:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
> " I guess you are saying that all people who work
> in public service should not be paid."

Win a lot of debates that way, tenn tom, purposely misstating the other person's position in order to make him look silly?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 12, 14 2:02 AM
First summer in town, feel like I am back home in NYC, a politician in office one hour and wants a raise!

Perhaps her campaign slogan should have been courtesy of Rod Tidwell:

"SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
By New Guy in Town (10), Westhampton on Jul 10, 14 9:40 AM
Hollywood, parking a truck and bicycle in town in your eyes is against the law ,I think you need to read up on what is illegal in this village, that would be balloons and open flag signs not parking a bicycle or a truck on village streets. You can't give a ticket for parking a bike or a truck. Sorry that bothers you and anyone who gets a violation is entitled to fight the case in court are you suggesting I should roll over and not fight , not the way I was raised, stand up and against stupidity.the ...more
By Shock (48), on Jul 10, 14 10:52 AM
Shock, I do understand what the village code does not cover signs in or on vehicles but when your truck or trucks are parked over the time limit and your bicycle is parked either in the crosswalk or in the safety zone of the crosswalk, ( which is the part that has the diagonal lines between the lines of the crosswalk and the next parking spot, just for your clarification) it is illegal not in the village code but in the penal law. Riding, The bicycle is creating a hazard by being parked there. Riding ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jul 10, 14 11:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
No where is it stated what the salary for mayor shall be. There is only a past history. Why not restore it to the 1976 salary or the 1994 salary. For this years budget it is app $12,500. Next years budget is a different story-maybe next year s Moore will be worth $35,000-whose to say.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 10, 14 7:10 PM
2 members liked this comment
Chutzpah worthy of a Nobel Prize. If such ingenuous egomania typifies her behavior, the Moore mayoralty will be newsworthy.

By highhatsize (4216), East Quogue on Jul 11, 14 9:39 AM
After careful consideration I've concluded that even $25,000 is much too low. A mayor for a community the size of WHB deserves $40,000 per year
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 15, 14 9:41 AM
At last nights work session it was brought to everyone's attention that all along the Mayors Salary should have never exceeded 11,000.
The past, current and future currect salary are all in question and need to be determined.
The 25,000 salary was never done properly so the overpayment of The Mayors Salary is now a big question as to who approved this increase, when and why.
It seems it was not properly done. This was all brought to light last night at the work session.
I think ...more
By Shock (48), on Jul 17, 14 1:50 PM
Ms Moore may be sorry she won
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jul 19, 14 7:01 PM