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Algonquin Township billboards ask taxpayers: 'Where's your road commissioner?'

2 billboards funded by ‘beleaguered taxpayers’ of Algonquin Township

A roadside billboard was planted on a stretch of Route 14 facing east between Algonquin Township property and Route 31.
A roadside billboard was planted on a stretch of Route 14 facing east between Algonquin Township property and Route 31.

Algonquin Township taxpayers driving west down Route 14 on Friday morning may have noticed a new billboard.

"Where's your road commissioner? $94K shouldn't be part time," the message reads.

Much smaller type strung along the bottom suggested who paid for the sign.

"Paid for by [and] posted on behalf of the beleaguered taxpayers of Algonquin Township."

Jack Schaffer is one of those troubled taxpayers – and he happens to be the owner of Liberty Outdoor Advertising, the company that planted the sign Friday on Route 14 and another just like it near the intersection of Rakow and Virginia roads.

A group of about 30 anonymous McHenry County residents – Schaffer would not share names without approval – paid for the two 6-foot-by-12-foot billboards. Each cost $250, and Liberty received donations as high as $40 from an individual.

"I'd probably put them up for free," Schaffer said, "but I'm part of the 'Time for Andy to go' movement."

Schaffer, a former state senator and McHenry County Republican chairman, said the billboards are a message to Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser.

"Do your job, do it right – or go live in Mississippi," said Schaffer.

Gasser could not be reached for comment.

In recent weeks, Gasser has become the target of criticism from residents and elected officials for taking a Valentine's Day trip hundreds of miles south to Mississippi rather than leading the Algonquin Township Highway Department during what his lawyer told a judge was an emergency salt shortage during a challenging stretch of winter weather.

"I'm a person who was in government a long time," said Schaffer, a 76-year-old former 32nd District senator. "When you get a salary like that, you should be there."

Gasser is paid $94,000 a year to maintain local roads.

"In winter, your place is on deck," Schaffer said. "You should be here."

Furthermore, Schaffer said, Gasser's campaign for the road commissioner's office was a political vendetta to kill the dynasty of his predecessor, Bob Miller, a longtime political acquaintance of Schaffer's.

"Not because he has any great interest in being a road commissioner," Schaffer said.

Gasser has a history with billboards.

A decade before he took over the road district, Gasser was known in Chicago Bears circles by another name: "Uncle Meatball."

That’s the name Gasser used to post screeds on Bears message boards in 2009, when he launched BearsFansUnited – a collection of Bears super-fans who took aim at team management. 

The group launched now-defunct BearsFansUnited.org and collected more than $3,500 donations from more than 200 people to raise a 24-foot-by-9-foot billboard with this message: “To the McCaskey family,” the billboard near 2430 Hintz Road in Arlington Heights said. “Do the right thing. Hire an ENTIRELY new coaching staff. Sincerely, The Chicago Bear Fans.”

Gasser previously said he doesn’t watch American football anymore.

To Schaffer, Gasser shouldn't be a highway commissioner anymore.

"I thought he would be a disaster," Schaffer said. "He's exceeded my expectations."

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