Although “Kosey Korner” is an opinion column, the Riverside Community Caucus (RCC/Caucus) feels that facts are important and therefore would like to correct the misinformation contained in the March 24 column.
Kosey Korner: “Riverside chose to vet candidates through the Riverside Community Caucus, a longstanding way to choose candidates.”
RCC: “Riverside” did not choose to “vet candidates through the Riverside Community Caucus.” The Caucus is a non-partisan community organization that welcomes all registered Riverside voters to join and participate in our mission which is “to encourage and facilitate a stable Village government.” The Riverside Community Caucus does not claim to represent all of Riverside; is not an arm, official or otherwise, of our local government; and does not function via “traditions,” spoken or unspoken.
Kosey Korner: “The slate was chosen by a small group of people who then presented it to the full Caucus for a vote,”
RCC: This is incorrect. We believe that village leadership is a responsibility shared across the community, and should not be controlled by a minority. In the past, the Caucus vetted prospective candidates via a Nominating Committee which made recommendations; the current process uses a Recruiting Committee.
The difference is not just semantical. In total, 10 people volunteered to serve on the Recruiting Committee. The Recruiting Committee promoted a public search for candidates via word of mouth, social media and the RB Landmark. We received more than 40 recommendations and all were contacted — none were overlooked for any reason.
Of those contacted, 10 people expressed interest and chose to go through the interviewing process. After the interviews, three candidates withdrew from consideration, leaving seven prospective candidates. The Recruiting Committee made sure that potential candidates were eligible to serve, but didn’t pass judgment on anyone’s qualifications. All seven prospective candidates were presented to the entire Caucus membership, as well as the community at large, via video, in their own words. The candidates themselves chose what they wanted to highlight.
Kosey Korner: “although all members of the Caucus were not eligible to vote.”
RCC: Per the Caucus bylaws, “To be able to vote for candidates to endorse, a member must have joined the Caucus at least one year prior to the next Consolidated Election.” This provision has been in the Caucus bylaws since about 2010.
However, in 2020, because of the pandemic, we allowed all members who joined prior to Sept. 15 to vote for which candidates to endorse. The Caucus is not just an organization, it is a process. We would like to see everyone join in the process, not just vote on the end product. The only members “not eligible to vote” were those who didn’t join in time to vote.
Kosey Korner: “That differed from the original Caucus bylaws which gave more people a chance to vote and present candidates at a large meeting”
RCC: The Caucus’ “original” bylaws (from 1927) are lost in time. However, even our bylaws from 2019 proved to be no match for the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. A “large meeting” was an impossibility. We’re all looking forward to the time that we can again meet in person.
We did have an open-ended virtual general membership meeting before voting where members asked questions and fully expressed their opinions. Even though we had to improvise, more members were able to vote during this round of endorsements than have done so in recent cycles.
Kosey Korner: “Trustees will include one incumbent trustee and two newcomers, including one who has only resided in the village for four to five years.”
RCC: The Riverside Community Caucus values many attributes including a candidate’s experience, integrity, and desire to serve the community. The younger family demographic is the future of our village. We do not believe that someone’s length of residency should either qualify or disqualify them from consideration.
Kosey Korner: “Unfortunately, an incumbent trustee and longtime resident was overlooked.”
RCC: Nobody was “overlooked.” All seven prospective candidates (including the two incumbents) were afforded an equal opportunity to present themselves to the membership and the community at large.
Neither incumbency nor geography qualified or disqualified any prospective candidate. Our membership took its responsibility seriously and voted in favor of the candidates they felt were qualified and would be best able to represent us all on the Village Board of Trustees.
Regardless of endorsement, the Riverside Community Caucus and its members value each and every prospective candidate that presented themselves for consideration. All seven of the prospective candidates are our friends and neighbors, who generously gave their time, experience, and friendship to the Riverside community.
Not being endorsed shouldn’t reflect negatively on anyone. We had seven extremely qualified individuals and only four open seats. Those not endorsed accepted the membership’s decision with grace, and will undoubtedly continue to contribute their talents to our community.
To learn more about the Riverside Community Caucus please visit our website at www.riversidecommunitycaucus.org.
Kevin F. Smith, chair
Sandy Briolat, vice chair
Maria Cerrone, secretary
E. Jay Van Cura, treasurer
Kimber Coombes, communications coordinator
Amy Bilow, membership coordinator
Riverside Community Caucus Board