Algonquin Township officials have kicked Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser out of the township’s main building.
After a motion from Trustee Melissa Victor on Wednesday night to move the highway department to a separate building and move all records into the township’s main building at 3702 Route 14, the township board voted, 3-2, in approval.
Trustees Dan Shea, Dave Chapman and Victor voted yes, while trustee Rachael Lawrence and Supervisor Charles Lutzow voted no.
Victor said keeping the road district and township as separate entities would eliminate tension brewing between Gasser and Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik.
“It will end a little bit of the hostility that goes on day to day with the township and the road and bridge,” Victor said.
The narrative inside McHenry County’s most populous township in the past year has been a story rife with in-house lawsuits, astronomical legal fees and numerous corruption allegations at the highway department.
Gasser did not attend Wednesday night’s meeting, but he talked to the Northwest Herald about the vote to move him out of the township building.
“I think [former highway commission] Bob Miller’s trustees are out of control,” Gasser said. “They won’t do a financial audit, but they’ll try to kick me out of my space. They won’t look into misuse of government funds, but they’ll complain about my pink truck. They’re out of control.”
Much of the hostility inside Algonquin Township stems from the highway commissioner’s June 1 lawsuit against Lukasik, Miller and his wife, Anna May Miller, who worked as road district secretary.
The complaint alleges Lukasik is out to obstruct Gasser from reviewing records to cover up years of wrongdoing by the highway commissioner’s predecessor. The court document highlights receipts Gasser said show that Bob Miller used public funds to buy handbags, women’s clothing and other personal items – including plane tickets to Disneyland.
Chapman seconded Victor’s motion. He said the move will help Gasser work with his employees as a team and boost morale in the highway department.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for Andrew to be closer with his employees,” Chapman said. “The road commissioner has done everything to separate himself from us. And you know what? He needs to be with his people and helping them. He has his own website. He has his own phone number. He has his own staff. And you know what? He needs to be out of here.”
Shea said his concern is the cost of the relocation. Lukasik said Building 6 – where Victor motioned to move Gasser and the highway department – is equipped with internet and phone lines.
Lawrence contended the move is ill-advised and not in the best interest of taxpayers.
“It’s something that needs to be thought out and planned out before we just agree on making a motion to completely move an entity that’s been in a specific office where residents know to walk into and have done so for more than a quarter of a century,” Lawrence said. “I think it’s an absolutely ridiculous proposition, and I can’t support it.”
Township officials later voted to approve the motion, and residents clapped.