OP-ED: Ethics Commission should investigate Reilly


When The York Dispatch broke the story of York County Commissioner Chris Reilly's use of a taxpayer-funded employee for his political campaign, few voters were surprised that Reilly had violated the law.

That lack of surprise is a sad and telling indictment of both the state of our democracy and of this overly-comfortable career politician.

There are elected officials from both sides of the aisle for whom such news would be greeted by voters with shock and disappointment. Chris Reilly is not one of those officials.

These admitted violations have prompted me to file a complaint against Commissioner Reilly with the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission.

Reilly hired the county commissioners' secretary, Hilary Kilburn, to be his campaign treasurer. In the wake of the Bonusgate scandal hiring a taxpayer-paid employee to also work on your campaign is, at the least, a dreadful idea.

This is made worse by the fact that Ms. Kilburn serves as the secretary for all three county commissioners; all of whom are on the ballot seeking re-election this year.

Reilly broke the law and violated county policy when he asked Ms. Kilburn to complete election-related work while she was on-the-clock (i.e. - being paid by York County's taxpayers to perform the duties of secretary to the county commissioners).

Ms. Kilburn admitted to The York Dispatch that she did campaign work while being paid by the county. Specifically, Kilburn confirmed that she did address and send campaign mail from the commissioners' office during regular work hours.

It's deeply troubling that it wasn't until Reilly heard that both County Solicitor Mike Flannelly and Kilburn's boss had met with her about conducting campaign activities in the commissioners' office that Reilly told Kilburn, "'Hilary, you can't do anything. Take everything you have associated with the campaign out of here. Be safe, get it out of here.'"

This indicates that there was campaign activity taking place for which county taxpayers were ultimately paying the bill and that Reilly held no regard for the law until he thought they might have been caught breaking it.

I believe these violations clearly indicate that career politician Chris Reilly has become too comfortable as a county commissioner; that he feels he is somehow above both county rules and the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For these reasons, I have filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission. Though elected to serve the residents of York County, Chris Reilly seems to be focused on serving only himself.

— Bob Kefauver is the chairman of the Democratic Party of York County. He has announced his resignation for medical reasons, but will serve until another chair is elected.