AS MPs discovered to their cost when the expenses scandal unravelled, perceptions are rather important when it comes to the public making judgements about the way in which elected politicians act and behave.
Auditor accepts that admin errors were to blame for councillors expenses mistakes>>>
KCC will no doubt hope that the outcome of a prolonged investigation into complaints about how some councillors have used private taxis and the authority's own chauffeur-driven cars will draw a line under what has, frankly, been a messy saga.
The district auditor says he accepts KCC's explanation that administrative errors were to blame for mistakes made when a small number of councillors submitted claims for travel in their own car when they had actually been travelling in a taxi or chauffeur-driven car.
His eight-page report records that the princely sum of £430.80 has been repaid for these administrative errors by among others, the deputy leader Alex King and the former KCC chairman Bill Hayton.
On the issue of whether Cllr King was within the council's own rules when he used taxis and council cars for a string of meetings to London's St Stephen's Club and the Atrium restaurant, the auditor writes: "I have no evidence to suggest that this explanation is untrue".
So, in the strict sense, the only reason KCC has had a mild rap on the knuckles is because of administrative errors.
But the sensitivity around the issue is reflected by the fact that KCC and the leader Paul Carter "have accepted the use of chauffeur-driven cars for private purposes is inappropriate and have stopped this practice."
And we have already reported how the deputy leader was advised to stop using them to travel to and from his home as there was a question mark over the rules.
Had there not been an investigation triggered by a member of the public, it is highly likely that the council would have continued to allow the practice.
Whether you consider it necessary for county councillors to have access to chauffeur-driven cars or not, KCC has not exactly covered itself in glory over the matter. There may be an argument to be made that providing senior councillors with access to chauffeur-driven cars on some occasions is sensible, especially if the costs of paying members expenses would leave the taxpayer with a higher bill.
But KCC appears to have lost sight of how these things can appear, especially at a time when taxpayers are struggling with bills and pay freezes and indeed many of its own staff face redundancy.
It needs to ensure not just that councillors know the rules, but that the public can be reassured that whatever arrangements are in place, they are not susceptible to abuse or exploitation.