We’ve said it before, but perception often is reality when it comes to government.
That’s especially true these days, as the public’s distrust in government has grown. It is a problem government has brought upon itself.
That brings us to the situation in Richmond, where the Village Board last week voted to withdraw its membership from an economic development organization after one of its trustees was hired by the organization as a vice president shortly after the village joined the group on his recommendation.
The concern, Village President Pete Koenig said, was that the job offer involved some quid pro quo. On its face, that concern is legit. The board, at Trustee Dave Kielpinski’s recommendation, voted to join Oak Brook-based World Trade Illinois, a nonprofit that aims to connect businesses and government entities on a global scale. About a week and a half later, Kielpinski was offered a job as the nonprofit’s vice president of operations.
Whether quid pro quo was involved or not, that certainly is the perception, and Richmond did the right thing by voting to withdraw its membership.
We’re not here to question Kielpinski’s ethics. He is a big part of the community. He’s the vice president of the nonprofit It’s All About Kids, which is dedicated to helping children with cancer and their families. He’s also involved with the McHenry County Historical Society and the Richmond-Spring Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.
Kielpinski deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Regardless, the conclusion easily can be drawn that the job came as a result of Richmond becoming a member of World Trade Illinois and forking over $750 to do so.
Perception becomes reality. Richmond had to deal with the perception and made the right decision.