RICHMOND – The Richmond Village Board voted to withdraw its membership from an economic development organization after one of its trustees got hired on as vice president just weeks after they joined the group on his recommendation.
The village joined World Trade Illinois, an Oak Brook-based nonprofit that aims to connect businesses and government entities on a global scale, earlier this year after Trustee Dave Kielpinski suggested it at a Community Development Committee meeting, Village President Pete Koenig said.
Kielpinski had been interested in the work the organization was doing and thought it would be beneficial to the village and its businesses, he said.
About a week and a half after the village joined, Kielpinski said he was offered a job as the nonprofit’s vice president of operations based on his work with Richmond and his role as the vice president of the nonprofit It’s All About Kids, which is dedicated to helping children with cancer and their families.
Kielpinski has been involved with a variety of charities and organizations around McHenry County, including the Centegra Health System, the McHenry County Historical Society and the Richmond-Spring Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.
The concern among some trustees is that the job offer involved some quid pro quo, Koenig said, adding that the consensus of the board at its meeting Thursday evening was to look into the timeline of when the village considered joining World Trade Illinois and when Kielpinski was offered the position.
The board also decided in a voice vote – Kielpinski abstained – to see if the village can withdraw its membership and get back the $750 it paid in dues. Koenig said he expects to have an answer on these questions by the next Village Board meeting.
Kielpinski said he was very surprised that the position was an issue, adding that he hadn’t been concerned about a conflict of interest when he accepted the job because the board had already decided to join the organization.
“My ethics, I don’t remember the last time they were questioned,” he said. “All the things I do for the village and other charitable organizations, to have that happen was pretty discouraging.”
If you go
The next Richmond Village Board meeting is at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Richmond Village Hall, 5600 Hunter Drive. Meeting minutes and agendas are available on the village’s website, richmond-il.com.