Yesterday, McHenry County Blog reported on the Freedom of Information denial suit against the Algonquin Township Road District.
Today, we’ll look at the response penned by Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser’s attorney Robert Hanlon.
It asks for a temporary restraining order stopping all arbitration “pursuant to the purported collective bargaining agreement until the invalidity of the purported is determined.”
- there is nothing in the Algonquin Township Board’s minutes about any collective bargaining agreement
- June 9th Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers filed for arbitration with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
Gasser’s answers each of the FOIA suit allegation from Local 150 as one would expect.
Then a countercomplaint plows new ground.
It points out that Gasser’s predecessor, Bob Miller, said he turned over all records, but no electronic records pertaining to “the purported collective bargaining agreement” were found.
“There were no records relating to any demand for bargaining with Local 150.”
Further, a search of Algonquin Township Board meeting minutes during 2017 turned up “the appointment of any person to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement on behalf of Algonquin Township or any of its entities.”
Hanlon then refers to state statutes conferring authority on township highway commissioners:
“The enumerated powers of the Road Commissioner do not include collective bargaining.”
The filing also notes that no Algonquin Township Board vote ratifying a collective bargaining agreement with Local 150 has taken place.
Nor has notice been given the public of Algonquin Township entering into negotiations with that union.
Nor has any authority to negotiate of sign such an agreement been authorized.
“The Algonquin Township Board of Trustees and the former Highway Commissioner, Robert Miller, lack the power to strip the authority of the Office of Highway Commissioner by way of a purported collective bargaining agreement with Local 150.”
The counterclaim notes that Gasser asked Miller, before taking office, if there were any labor agreements with Local 150 to which Miller replied in the negative.
In addition, Miller provided not labor agreement before May 15th, when Gasser took office.
The document reports that Gasser terminated three employees on the day he took office.
The result was grievances being filed by Local 150, moving on to a demand for arbitration.
Written in the countersuit is that Gasser told Local 150 and others that he would “repudiate any purported collective bargaining agreement extending into his term of office prior to May 1, 2017,” and he did so.
Now Local 150 charges that the Road District has committed an unfair labor practice because of the repudiation.
His attorney charges that the “purported agreement” violates the Open Meetings Act because no notice of any collective bargaining agreement was given the public and no meeting of the Township Board occurred to discuss it.
“Irreparable harm in their duties as public officials” will occur unless the requested injunction is granted, the motion argues.
Continuing it says that Gasser has an “inadequate remedy at law” and the suit is likely to succeed.
“The public interest requires that elected officials be required to engage all the functions of their
offices and not be bound by unauthorized practices or agreements for which they have no knowledge.”