Appearances rightly matter

October 22, 2013 

Madison County Board member Jack Minner may well have been clueless that his old buddy was a subcontractor on the county jail renovation assessment. He may no longer work for Farmer Environmental Services despite the company's website still listing him as a manager.

But the Edwardsville Democrat knew before he voted in favor of borrowing $18 million for jail renovations that there was a question about his ties and impartiality regarding the best interests of the taxpayers he represents. His Republican colleague, Lisa Ciampoli of Collinsville, brought it up at the meeting.

"I'm not accusing him of anything. I'm just stating the facts. It doesn't pass the smell test to me," Ciampoli said.

She's right. And we believe the best thing would have been for Minner to recuse himself.

We all have ties -- six degrees of separation, you know. When you choose to become an elected representative, you should be open about your ties and avoid swaying decisions that look like cronyism or further the old cliche that every government contract or job goes to the in-law of someone in power.

When in doubt, opt out.

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