EDITORIAL: Time to dig deeper

York Dispatch

York County Commissioner Chris Reilly and those in the commissioners' office have a perception problem.

There is a perception that Reilly's hiring of Hilary Kilburn — the taxpayer-paid confidential secretary to the commissioners — as his campaign secretary was too close for comfort, ethically speaking.

There is an even greater perception that she allegedly did campaign work in the commissioners' office. Actually, that's more than a perception, as Kilburn told Dispatch managing editor and columnist Christina Kauffman that she sent out some mail, maybe affixed a few stamps.

Kauffman's grandma liked a saying: "We get old too soon, and smart too late."

We have a saying, too: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck — it's a duck.

What we mean is, if there was a little campaign work going on in the office, could there have been more campaign work going on in the office? Is affixing stamps a big deal? If not, where is the line?

It is time for an investigation into exactly what happened. The taxpayers have a right to know. Where is the demand for transparency?

It's certainly not coming from Reilly's fellow commissioners, Steve Chronister and Doug Hoke.

That perplexes us.

Kauffman did her job. She let the community know that something is amiss in an office where the rule against mixing campaign work with the people's work isn't considered that big a deal.

Now it's time for the powers that be to do their job and find out what happened.

Maybe the amount of campaign work was small and a complaint- initiated investigation would determine that. Then the taxpayers would know that their trust in their elected officials is not misplaced.

But we might never know the extent of the breech — unless someone demands the full accounting.

The commissioners should welcome the investigation to clear any misconceptions about the propriety of their office.

Because they, as well as anyone, know that when it comes to whom the taxpayers choose to vote for, perceptions are everything.