‘All about Kingsley:’ Rod Bogart, Michigan’s longest currently serving elected official, steps down | Local News
, 2022-11-04 07:00:00,
KINGSLEY — In 1972 the Vietnam War was in full swing, Roberta Flack was crooning her way to the top of the charts, and the VW Beetle had kids slugging each other whenever they saw one on the road.
It was also the year Rod Bogart, who was 24, was appointed to the Kingsley Village Council. This month marks his 51st year, making him the longest currently-serving elected official in the state, according to the Michigan Municipal League.
Mary Lajko, who is now president pro-tempore of Kingsley, is running unopposed for the top post.
Bogart, 74, was appointed to the council after a trustee had a heart attack. A few years later he was appointed mayor after the village mayor died.
There were a couple years when he was so busy with his construction business that he didn’t run. People wrote his name on the ballot and elected him anyway.
Bogart said the time just kind of rolled along.
“I didn’t one day say, ‘I’ve been doing this for 25 years,’” Bogart said. “The 25 years just came and went and became 26 years.”
He jokes that he sure didn’t do it for the money. He was paid $2,500 a year.
Village Manager Dan Hawkins said Bogart is an example for others to follow.
“There are a lot of people who want to complain, but when it comes time to step up to the plate they don’t want to do that,” Hawkins said. “So it’s really encouraging when someone serves that long. It’s an encouragement for others to serve.”
Putting in sewers, replacing an old wooden water tank and adding sidewalks to the village were some of the improvements Bogart pushed for during the last 50 years.
The village did not have garbage pick-up and residents used to take it to a hole in a 40-acre parcel that was deeded to the village years ago by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The oil industry was hot and heavy back then and the village staked an oil well on the site. The village had a 3/16th interest in the well and Bogart convinced the council to sell part of that interest. They got $16,000 and put in more sidewalks, he said.
The well was successful and earned the village about $1 million in royalties. He convinced the council to put the money in a trust fund and only spend the interest.
“We only spend it on what we call civic betterment,” Bogart said. “We don’t put it in the…
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