Ethics commission reviewing nepotism complaint against judge-exec

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

The county's ethics commission is investigating allegations of nepotism related to Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele's selection of his brother-in-law to serve in his administration.
Last month, sparks began to fly less than an hour after Voegele's swearing-in as magistrates questioned the legal ramifications of appointing La Grange resident John Black to serve as deputy judge.
After a lengthy discussion, Voegele agreed that he'd act accordingly if the county's ethics commission ruled the appointment as nepotism, and in turn, magistrates approved Black to serve as deputy judge.
But the next day, members of the ethics commission said they had no plans to investigate Black's hiring because they hadn't received a complaint.
Three weeks later, on Jan. 26, Crestwood resident Theresa Falke filed a complaint in the county's clerk's office.
In the complaint, Falke defines nepotism per the Random House College Dictionary."Pure and simple," she wrote,  the "county judge-executive is displaying nepotism."
Falke told The Oldham Era she approached Voegele during his 2010 campaign and shared that she feels the deputy judge position is unnecessary. By the end of their conversation, Falke said Voegele gave her the impression that he planned to eliminate the deputy-judge's position and divvy tasks among his secretaries.
Regardless of Black's relation to Voegele, she hoped the position would go away.
"Our tax money has better value somewhere else," she said Feb. 3.
Falke also said Black isn't the only qualified resident to serve as deputy judge, despite her opinion that residents elect state representatives for the state legislature and don't need Black – or anyone else – serving as a "paid lobbyist."

Falke is a member of the Kentucky Tri-County Tea Party, a group with a growing membership in Oldham, Hentry and Trimble counties.

Debra Edwards, president of the Kentucky Tri-County Tea Party, said while Falke is a member, the complaint does not represent the views of the party, nor was it filed on the party's behalf.
Ethics commission chair Raymond Simpson could not be immediately reached for comment.
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