Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Building Inspector Retires Leaves Same Day Review Begins

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Building Inspector Retires Leaves Same Day Review Begins

Article excerpt

Claude Bagwell, Jacksonville's chief building and zoning

inspector under four mayors, retired unexpectedly yesterday

after 28 years of service to the city.

Bagwell, 66, delivered the news in the morning and retired at

the end of the day.

Bagwell left the same day a comprehensive review of his

division began. It has been criticized for missing required

building inspections and failing to enforce the state's minimum

building code.

The review, ordered by Mayor John Delaney, was described as a

positive action by Bagwell.

"I do not want to stand in the way of any new ideas for

Building and Zoning in order to operate more effectively," he

said.

The review of the division was sparked in part by a series of

Times-Union stories that outlined problems with missed

inspections and a failure by building and zoning to adhere to

state minimum building codes.

Bagwell said the stories had nothing to do with his decision,

but he added the newspaper "brought up a lot of good points" and

had "written the truth."

At quitting time yesterday, a half-dozen employees clustered

outside his office waiting to say personal goodbyes. One woman,

saying she had to leave, asked a co-worker to "tell him I

cried."

Bagwell said he expects to work as an engineering consultant

but had no detailed plans for his retirement.

He said he had been considering retirement for several years.

Having decided to leave, he said, he wanted to go quickly.

As the longtime division chief, he was nearly synonymous with

the city's building and zoning system, the man who advised

elected leaders on arcane zoning rules and listened to

complaints from citizens dissatisfied with subordinates'

actions.

Bagwell was born in Miami in 1931 and moved to Jacksonville in

1963. A structural engineer, he worked for a number of companies

in town before joining the city in 1969.

He became building and zoning chief in 1985 under thenMayor

Jake Godbold. …

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