Council OKs code officer appointment despite voiced concerns

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Randall Bogue will continue to serve as the code enforcement officer in the village of Urbancrest.

At the February meeting, village council approved his reappointment by a 4-2 vote. He has served as the code enforcement officer since 2016.

Shortly after the vote had taken place, a discussion was held regarding his performance. It was sparked when councilwoman Deborah Larkins-Jackson mentioned a search to find potential candidates to fulfill the role next year.

While Larkins-Jackson did cast a vote in favor of his reappointment, her comment aligned with remarks she made after the December council meeting when the legislative body voted down the first resolution to grant his reappointment. It was made under an emergency declaration.

“I think more people should be given the opportunity to apply (for the role),” she had stated.

The code enforcement officer is recommended by the village mayor. After the meeting in December, Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. said that while he would be receptive to a list of potential candidates for any position, he is satisfied with the way Bogue has conducted the business of the village.

The comment from Larkins-Jackson at the February meeting, as well as the lack of a consensus vote, prompted councilwoman Nikky Ziglar-Zimmerman to ask whether there has been work-related complaints against Bogue.

“Did he not do the job properly?” she asked.

She said, in her opinion, Bogue has done an acceptable job as the village’s code enforcement officer and wanted to know why his position had been in jeopardy for the past two months.

Councilwoman Shawn Moore said she voted against Bogue’s reappointment because she felt that not enough had changed since he took the position in 2016 and that she would “keep it at that.”

Councilwoman Alicia Wiggins said she has misgivings about the roles he and his wife, Donna Bogue, have in the village government. In addition to being the code enforcement officer, Bogue is also the chair of the planning commission. Donna Bogue has been on the board of zoning appeals since 2010 and was recently elected as a write-in candidate to the board of public affairs.

“I just feel that their roles are too closely aligned,” said Wiggins.

She added that while she did not believe they were in violation of ethics laws, she voted against his reappointed to “err on the side of caution.”

Councilman Steven Larkins said that while he did vote in favor of Bogue’s reappointment, he can see both sides of the issue.

“I can understand where she is coming from,” he said. “It is a concern (having multiple family members on various boards).”

He added that it was a pitfall of living in a small community with a governing body.
Wiggins disagreed and said they needed to do more outreach within the community.

“We need to extend the opportunity.”

When asked about the comment from Wiggins, Bogue said that when he and his family move into a community, they make it a point to become as civically engaged as possible.

“We have always tried to help out to make a better neighborhood,” he said.

He said that he did not see a problem with the governing roles he and his wife have in the community.

“In regards to the ethics, I believe that largely entails a supervisor-subordinate position and that does not apply in our roles.”

He stated that he was glad to have been reappointed to the code enforcement officer position and looks forward to “getting the village back up to code.”

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