What voters should know about transparency

Transparency at all levels of government is a serious matter. Voters and taxpayers have a right to know, within the bounds of privacy requirements, how government decisions are being made and how tax dollars are spent.

Transparency is an essential component of the complex and fragile relationship between the public and the citizens they elect to represent them. Another component is integrity.

Tom Nemickas, Sally Davis, Ted Moorman, and Dave Lane are men and women of tremendous integrity. They are also your neighbors who have volunteered for an important but difficult job, knowing that they would have to walk a treacherous path to earn the right to do that job.

The opposition has attempted yet again to block that path by attacking Dr. Nemickas because the very large healthcare company he works for, Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (IBJI), has a small contract with District 115 for athletic training services. 

Not surprisingly, Dr. Nemickas didn't know about the contract because it involves a different business unit than the one he works for. He reports, "My division does not have a direct relationship with LFHS or any contracts with the Board of Education. Therefore, I was unaware of the athletic trainer contract. I have learned that another division of IBJI provides trainer support at a very minimal level and expenses only cover salary and benefits, generating no profitable gain to IBJI." 

This is not an example of lack of transparency. It's merely the consequence of the fact that IBJI is a well-respected provider of services that the high school is required to provide, and a company that is so invested in the community that it offers those services at cost to our district. The D115 board has done a great job of providing needed services to our students in the most economical way possible.

There is nothing in this arrangement that disqualifies Dr. Nemickas from running for the board. It's a very common situation, especially in smaller communities; he'll just need to recuse himself from voting on any future contracts between IBJI and D115. Now that he knows of the contract, he will also file an amended Statement of Economic Interest from the county clerk's office (candidates and elected officials file these statement every year). [Addendum 3/21/17: Dr. Nemickas has filed a supplemental Statement of Economic Interest. Dr. Nemickas reports the contract is under legal review and steps are being taken to ensure there is no possibility of a conflict of interest before he is seated on the board.]

We are proud to be supporting Dr. Nemickas, a respected physician and an employee of a company that is engaged in the community. He will make a fine school board member. Please give him and the other three Caucus candidates your vote on April 4 (or sooner - early voting starts next Monday!).

Transparency represented by a window