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Communication breakdown surrounds resignation of Lake Placid judge Hulshoff

October 13, 2017
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - This village's former justice is highly critical of his dealings with the mayor and Board of Trustees, saying their lack of correspondence with him is the primary reason he suddenly resigned last month.

At the same time, Mayor Craig Randall said Bill Hulshoff provided neither him nor the board with a reason for his resignation three weeks ago, which they said caught them by surprise.

The former village justice is also currently on a leave of absence from his position as one of two North Elba town justices. He is currently in Florida attending to a serious family health matter. He said he hopes to return to his role as town justice in two to three months.

Article Photos

Bill Hulshoff
(News photo — Antonio Olivero)

The town's lone remaining active justice, Dean Dietrich, is currently undertaking the village court's caseload as associate village justice. Hulshoff resigned effective Sept. 30 after he informed the village board of his pending resignation at its Sept. 18 meeting.

"My reason for resigning from the village had nothing to do with my family issue," Hulshoff said. "I feel there's a lack of leadership on the village's part and a failure of understanding what the village court does for the community."

Hulshoff has been at odds with Randall, the village board and Dietrich for several years as they led an effort to dissolve the village court into the North Elba court in order to save taxpayer money. Hulshoff twice led efforts in the last two years to keep the court, and both times village voters sided with him.

Then in April, he asked the village for a major raise - to double his salary of $8,672, claiming his annual salary was the lowest of any town or village justice in Essex County. He also invited Randall and any members of the board to sit in on a village court session.

In the ensuing seven months, Hulshoff said he didn't receive a follow-up from any members of the board about his request for a raise or invitation to visit the court in session, leading to his decision last month to quit a position he was elected to earlier this year.

He added that the village stopped providing his health insurance - another reason that led to his resignation.

"It didn't make mathematical sense to stay on as village justice," Hulshoff said.

Randall countered that the board was not pleased with Hulshoff's village court not providing evening hours, a service justices had provided in previous years.

"There were always evening hours previously, and for whatever reason he didn't do that," Randall said.

"The communication was not the best there," Randall added, "but it is what it is."

Moving forward, Randall said Dietrich has said he can undertake the full village caseload until a new justice is appointed to fill the position. But the mayor added that as of Monday, no candidate had expressed interest. Any appointee would most likely have to complete the state Court Administration's training program, which has its next session in late November and early December.

Then any appointee would be up for a special election in March to complete Hulshoff's term through March 2021.

The mayor said he'd have to consult the entire board before providing further comment on Hulshoff's reasoning for resignation. The next meeting of trustees is Monday, Oct. 16 at 5 p.m. at the North Elba Town Hall.

Hulshoff, a bail bondman and former village trustee, served as a village justice since 2009 and has served as a town justice over the past two years since he was elected to the position in November 2015.



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