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Moving Andrew Gasser: Algonquin Township officials on fence about office shuffle

Trustee flips view about relocation

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser talks about the township's new pink snowplow April 27.
Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser talks about the township's new pink snowplow April 27.

There’s a good chance Andrew Gasser isn’t going anywhere.

The Algonquin Township highway commissioner’s office space at 3702 Route 14 had been a center of controversy before officials met for their monthly meeting Monday night – and trustees voted to table a second vote on whether to sequester Gasser to Building 6.

A month earlier, the township board voted, 3-2, to relocate the road commissioner to a separate building on township property. An Open Meetings Act complaint about how the measure appeared on the meeting’s agenda elicited a second vote.

It now appears the vote will go the other way.

“It’s going to come back up next month, and I probably won’t support it,” said Trustee Dan Shea, who previously voted in approval of kicking Gasser out of the township’s main building to ease tensions brewing between public officials.

Shea said he changed his mind after McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim wrote Supervisor Charles Lutzow a letter May 8 detailing the law enforcement agency’s use of Building 6 – a sheriff’s office substation.

“As we discussed, the space we currently occupy is a huge benefit to the sheriff’s office, and one we greatly appreciate,” Prim wrote.

Prim’s letter outlined how the sheriff’s office uses Building 6.

“Deputies regularly use the substation and, since the security cameras can be viewed in Woodstock by our emergency communications operators, it serves as a secure location to write reports, conduct follow-up investigations, exercise the K-9’s, brief operations in the area, conduct alcohol breath tests or to just take a break.”

Trustees approved an April 11 motion from Trustee Melissa Victor to move the highway department to a separate building and move all records into the township’s main building.

Trustees Dave Chapman, Shea and Victor voted “yes,” while Trustee Rachael Lawrence and Lutzow voted “no.”

Victor said keeping the highway department and township separate would eliminate tension brewing between Gasser and Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik.

Much of the hostility inside Algonquin Township stems from the highway commissioner’s June 1 lawsuit against Lukasik, former Highway Commissioner Bob Miller and his wife, Anna May Miller, a former department secretary.

The complaint alleges that Lukasik is out to obstruct Gasser from reviewing records to cover up years of wrongdoing by Bob Miller, the highway commissioner’s predecessor. The court document highlights receipts Gasser said show that Bob Miller used public funds to buy personal items, including plane tickets to Disneyland.

Chapman said he’s not sure how he’ll vote next month. He plans to moderate a meeting with Lutzow, Gasser and Lukasik, who could not be reached for comment.

“Of all the employees at the township, none of them have a problem with Andrew except Karen,” Chapman said. “There are definitely things those two will never agree on. We’re talking about each of them having their needs met.”

Gasser hopes township officials reconsider the move.

“I am very thankful that the trustees are taking another look at this to realize how important it is that we keep our office where it is, and that way we can keep the synergy of all three elected officials in the same building,” he said.

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