Anyone paying attention to the prolific social media output of Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser might have been surprised when news dropped that he abandoned community functions the highway department had been managing for years.
Those included bus services for seniors and disabled people in need of rides to the doctor’s office and the department’s robust recycling program.
A string of enthusiastic posts on Gasser’s public figure Facebook page over the past year have been about making the recycling program better.
On Aug. 24, Gasser posted, “We continue to make recycling in Algonquin Township better,” including an advertisement for the highway department’s specialized recycling event two days later. “See you Saturday, and great job, ladies, on the new advert.”
On his personal page Sept. 30, Gasser wrote, “Another successful Algonquin Township Highway Department recycling event.”
Then on Oct. 28, “The Algonquin Township Highway Department recycling program is better than ever. No paid ‘volunteers,’ no $200 after-parties on the taxpayer dime, and many satisfied residents,” the post read. “As highway commissioner, I’m looking forward to next year’s recycling program. We can make it even better.”
The next month, Gasser responded to a Facebook user asking whether any services had been cut to free up money to pay for the department’s legal fees.
“No services have been cut. None. We did miss one specialized recycling event due to safety reasons. We do now charge for paint recycling due to circumstances that are beyond my control,” Gasser wrote. “In fact we are actually expanding our recycling program with our free Styrofoam recycling program with our partner, McHenry County Environmental Defenders.”
In a Jan. 3 post on his website titled “Transparency Improving at Algonquin Township Highway Department,” Gasser detailed an overhaul of the department’s website that included improvements to the pages for recycling and senior bus services.
“We made our recycling page much more interactive and partnered with the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County,” the post reads. “Our bus service for seniors and disabled folks is now all interactive as well. We will continuously make it better.”
On Aug. 3, in an email to Supervisor Charles Lutzow, Gasser wrote, “Effective immediately the Algonquin Township Highway Department will no longer be participating in the following functions ... ”
Gasser offered this bullet-pointed list of the things his department would no longer do, including bingo setup, emptying recycling dumpsters, prework premises inspection (walkabout), township mowing or watering on township property, building maintenance or trash collection, scheduling of new bus rides after Aug. 17 maintenance of township buses, fueling of the township bus and paying bus drivers.
The Northwest Herald called Gasser to ask why he abandoned these services, and he did not respond.