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Amid support for the decision and cries of nepotism and neglecting the voters’ voices, judge-executive elect David Voegele recently announced his choice for his second-in-command when he takes office in January.
Voegele recently announced his decision to appoint his brother-in-law – and former judge-executive – John Black to the deputy judge-executive position.
Residents seem to be conflicted on the decision with many saying they support Voegele’s choice and look forward to Black’s community service again.
Others say they made their decisions about Black in the recent senate election and didn’t vote him into office then, so why should he serve now.
The appointment of deputy judge-executive does not require approval of fiscal court, Voegele said, and he chose Black because of his experience and relationships with city, county and state government officials.
Voegele addressed the subject of nepotism in a news release and a recent interview with The Oldham Era.
“I didn’t select John because he’s my brother-in-law,” he said. “I did it because I felt he was the most qualified person available for the position.”
Black, a Democrat, recently lost the race for State Senate against incumbent Ernie Harris and said he originally had no intention of serving as deputy judge.
His community service and time spent as county judge from 1993 to 2002 – as well as two terms as mayor of La Grange – is what makes him best for the job, Voegele said.
Crestwood resident Patti Clore Stephens said she thinks Black’s appointment is “wonderful.”
“I think he’s a wonderful man who has done a great deal of good for this county,” she said.
The fact that Black and Voegele are related has no influence on her feelings one way or the other, she said.
In fact, she didn’t know they are related until shortly before the election.
Jackie Hancock, also of Crestwood, disagrees.
“The people did not vote (Black) into office,” she said. “He ran as a Democrat, we voted against him for an office and now he’s in an office.”
She said the relationship between Black and Voegele bothers her as well.
In any job it’s frowned upon to appoint a relative, she said, and she thinks they didn’t put any thought into the appointment.
“It’s like they don’t care what the voters think,” she said. “I would have voted (Black) in if I wanted him.”
According to the county’s administrative code – which has a specific entry for nepotism – “members of any county government officer’s or employee’s immediate family are ineligible for employment by fiscal court.”
The code states that officers and employees of the court may not have management authority over a family member.
And while the court does not have to approve Black’s appointment, they do have to approve his salary, which will be set at almost $20,000 less than the current salary for deputy judge.
Black’s appointment, as well as those for the county’s police chief and director of planning and development, will be submitted for a vote to the new fiscal court Jan. 3.
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