Lake Placid justice asks to double pay

Hulshoff claims his salary is the lowest of any county justice

Justice William Hulshoff (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

LAKE PLACID — After he was victorious in keeping his position of village justice, a position that voters recently chose not to dissolve, William Hulshoff is asking this village for a major raise.

Hulshoff addressed the board at last week’s regularly scheduled meeting and informed them he’d like to see his salary of $8,672 doubled in accordance with the start of the current term on April 3.

Hulshoff claimed his current annual salary is the lowest of any town or village justice in the county, fewer than half what justices make in towns such as St. Armand ($20,000) and Ticonderoga ($17,500). He also claimed that of any town or village court in the county, Lake Placid’s village court is the second busiest, behind Ticonderoga.

He added that with the elimination of the village’s other justice position within the last couple of years and the elimination of his healthcare benefits through the village for this year, a major increase in compensation is warranted.

“The reason I ask for an adjustment to the compensation is because of the criminal caseload the village court has, the time involved in doing it, and the time that the court is open to the public,” he said.

“And I would suggest that maybe by the savings the board has already made in eliminating the healthcare package and having the savings from the last two years of not paying (a second judge) that they would consider at least doubling the pay the current position has.”

Lake Placid village Trustee Jason Leon inquired about the number of hours Hulshoff works in the position, to which he replied four days of court each month compared to two court days a month with the town of North Elba, through which Hulshofff makes $11,500 annually. Hulshoff said hours are fluid, beginning at 1 p.m. and spanning “until whenever court is done.”

Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall said the board would look into the request and also asked Hulshoff about activity logs for various types of cases the court sees. Randall said he hadn’t seen those in a “considerable” amount of time.

Hulshoff said the state comptroller only measures a monetary figure of the court, which he said was skewed, pointing to the small towns of North Hudson and Schroon and the high volume flowing through their courts thanks to many driving tickets from the Adirondack Northway.

“Certainly we’ll take your request under advisement, Bill,” Randall said. “I think that’s reasonable ….We may have further information — certainly we are coming into that point of the year where obviously we are developing next year’s budget.”

Hulshoff is asking for a raise from the very people who twice moved to eliminate the village court and his position with a goal of saving village taxpayers money. The village board and the village’s acting backup justice behind Hulshoff, town justice Dean Dietrich, and his Lake Placid-North Elba Community Development Commission were the lead proponents in dissolving the court. The village’s main argument for dissolving was to save taxpayers money.

Last month, village Treasurer Paul Ellis said an estimated $45,933 — the cost of operating the village court — would be saved per year if the court dissolved. It was the second time the village board put the proposition to voters after voters chose to keep the court in June 2016. That vote only occurred after Hulshoff circulated a petition to put the village board’s previous decision to eliminate the court to vote.

For the second time in nine months, the people of Lake Placid voted not to combine village caseloads with the town of North Elba’s court, this time by a tally of 132 votes to 114. Hulshoff was also selected to another term.

Hulshoff disagreed adamantly with the village’s claim that the elimination of the court would benefit taxpayers, saying the savings would be minimal and that court services would be negatively affected due to a “clogging of the process” with just the town court.