Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said he expects an independent review of an ethics complaint against human resources employee and McLean County clerk candidate Nikita Richards will be done swiftly so the matter can be resolved before the Nov. 6 election.
Gleason said the city has hired Washington, Ill., attorney John Redlingshafer at $190 per hour to conduct an independent review of the complaint against the Democrat. He said the city conducted its own review and found no wrongdoing, but decided to pursue the matter further.
“Complaints persisted. They weren’t new in nature, same complaints, same complainant,” Gleason said. “Given the political nature of all this, that sort of was the game-changer.
“(The city) felt it was prudent to try to protect the integrity of the city, so we sought out a third party.”
Richards is accused in a complaint filed by Bloomington resident Kevin Gerrard accusing Richards of doing political work and shopping on city time, based on her online browsing history.
“We know the scrutiny on that topic from a couple of the complainants, that there is that expectation and we have that expectation ourself,” Gleason said.
Richards said during a GLT candidate forum Thursday she expects to be fully vindicated, adding the web searches and purchases in question are related to her job as a hiring recruiter.
Gleason added the city will release a final determination regarding the allegations, but doesn’t plan to release specifics of the report or whether any disciplinary action may be taken.
“The fact that we’ll either say that the complaints were founded or unfounded should satisfy the community,” Gleason said. “It may not satisfy the complainant, but I want the community to understand we have taken this seriously.”
Richards opponent, two-term incumbent Republican Kathy Michael, has been accused in a complaint filed by a Richards supporter accusing Michael of doing political work on a county-owned computer and trying to destroy a county laptop to conceal evidence.
The Illinois Appellate Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the allegations.
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