Friday , January 12, 2018 - 5:41 PM
NORTH OGDEN — For roughly the next year, Brent Chugg will serve as mayor of North Ogden.
The City Council appointed Chugg as temporary mayor in a special meeting Thursday night. Chugg will fill in for Brent Taylor, who will soon deploy to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army — a stint that will likely cover 12 months.
Chugg was recommended to the council by Taylor.
“He has a great history of service with the city and a long track record of effective executive leadership,” Taylor said. “And because he’s done so much ... with the city, I feel like he’d be able to enter right into service and continue a positive climate.”
In 2013 and 2014, Chugg served as the volunteer project manager for the construction of the Public Works facility the city built in an empty lot on Lomond View Drive. Chugg also served the chairman of the committee that reviewed the project and determined its scope.
Taylor called the project a challenging time in city history, with members of both the council and North Ogden’s citizenry divided on the specifics.
“He really helped reduce tensions and did something that seemed impossible — which was bring everyone together,” Taylor said. “It was under budget, on time — it’s working great.”
The retired Chugg also has years of executive experience, last working as a manager of production for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welfare department, where he oversaw 54 large agricultural operations and budgets of up to $40 million.
“I thought, in regards to this particular position, that if the mayor is out there serving our country I ought to be able to do something to help out,” Chugg said. “That’s the reason that I applied.”
MILESKI PICKED TO UTA POST
Taylor has also served as the trustee for the area on the Utah Transit Authority board, and the Weber Area Council of Governments on Monday picked Toby Mileski to fill in for him during his military deployment. Mileski, a former Pleasant View mayor, will serve on an interim basis, like Chugg, until Taylor returns.
Taylor has been something of a firebrand on the UTA board, pushing to counter what he sees as lacking transparency in UTA operations. Similarly, Mileski said he’d bring a “watchdog perspective” as trustee and that he shares Taylor’s view that the UTA should tap its Prop. 1 funding for a proposed bus rapid transit system in Ogden to reduce the local government burden.
The area’s UTA trustee represents the cities of Weber County and Brigham City, Perry and Willard in Box Elder County. The WACOG board voted 11-6 for Mileski, who beat out Weber County Commissioner James Ebert in the voting, according to Shelly Halacy, administrative coordinator in the Weber County Commission.
‘CITY IS BOOMING’
Chugg said North Ogden is in a good position — socially, economically and otherwise — and, as temporary mayor, wants to keep the momentum going.
Over the past two years, several businesses have moved into large retail centers along Washington Boulevard in the city. There are also two large high-density housing developments planned for empty pieces of land on the city’s main street.
“The city is booming — it’s moving forward in a real progressive way,” Chugg said. “It would be my desire to keep it going in that direction and add whatever I can.”
State code provides for military leaves of absence when elected officials are called to active, full-time duty in the armed forces. The statute is designed for reservists and National Guard members who are limited by federal law to deployments that are a maximum of 400 days.
Qualifications for the temporary mayor position — much like those of other elected city positions — are that the office holder is 18 or older, a registered voter and lives within the boundaries of the city or municipality. As replacement mayor, Chugg will have the full powers and duties of the office.
The city council will decide the distribution of pay and benefits between the two mayors, but Taylor said he has “no expectation at all” that he’ll be paid by the city once he deploys.
Taylor has been a member of the National Guard since 2003 and has deployed several times previously, including twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. He will leave on Jan. 18.
Reporter Tim Vandenack contributed to this story.
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