$70,500 of Algonquin Township Road District funds were transferred to legal services in three different funds on Wednesday night.
The action came at the end of Algonquin Township’s Board meeting.
The Local 150 members and supporters who brought three inflated rats to place on the right-of-way in front of the township office complex had all gone home.
Only Democratic Party activists remained.
Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser did not attend the meeting.
Township Trustee Rachael Lawrence reported that he was meeting with constituents on a “catastrophic failure” on one of the township highways.
Trustee David Chapman added that a culvert was in danger of collapsing.
After the meeting Lawrence said it was on Dennis Road, a neighborhood south of Algonquin Road down the hill from the incorporated part of Algonquin.
During the public comment period, Richard Fahy, an official of Local 150, excoriated Gasser for the “mess” he had created at the Road District.
Defending predecessor Bob Miller, Fahy said Miller had “the duty to bargain collectively” and had done so.
Gasser, he said had fired three union members his first day in office and later repudiated the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Fahy revealed that Gasser’s refusal to reply to Freedom of Information requests had led to a law suit to which Gasser had counter-sued.
“There is no legal authority to support Mr. Gasser’s position,” he continued.
“Mr. Gasser is playing house with house money.
“He’s made a risky bet with taxpayers’ money.”
Fahy concluded by urging Board members “to cut off the litigation right now.”
His supporters then cheered.
Jenny McCracken took up the cudgel.
“He has evaded his responsibility by not showing up today.”
Pointing to a $20,000 retainer and $71,000 more in legal fees, she said, “We don’t have to pay his legal fees.”
She referred to a Facebook post Gasser made on January 23rd saying that he would post bills and employee salaries on the internet, pointing out that had not yet been done.
She also said Gasser had denied numerous Freedom of Information requests.
In other business, Chapman gained passage of a resolution pledging Township support to the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus’ Greenest Region Compact 2, a ten-point agenda concerning climate, economic development, energy, land, leadership, mobility, municipal operations, sustainable communities, waste & recycling and water.
Township Clerk Karen Lukasik reported that she would need more money for legal expenses, storage of township records and a part-time employee to digitize Township records that may go back as far as the late 1960’s.
She complained about Gasser’s having moved Township records and said she would have to hire some to access records, if Gasser were unwilling to assist in their retrieval.