It was a bad day for Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser at Friday afternoon’s Special Meeting called at his behest.
He didn’t get approval to transfer $40,000 into his legal expense line item to pay what he and the Edgar County Watchdogs had agreed upon to settle the Freedom of Information case in which Clerk Karen Lukasik did not reply to eight requests.
Immediately after convening at 3:30, the Board went into Executive Session to discuss the case.
Rachael Lawrence pointed out that she thought the settlement had been misrepresented as a proposed court order when it was just a proposed court order.
The language imposed a five-day period in which agreement would be reached or an additional $5,000 per month would be paid.
“I strongly urge the Board to vote, ‘No,'” she said.
Trustee Melissa Victor stated, “I will not be kept hostage by Gasser and the Edgar County Watchdogs..
“It’s not his money to hand out to anyone he chooses.”
Dave Chapman asked all involved to “start being human to each other…to end these lawsuits.”
The fourth Trustee, Dan Shea, said he would “not in any way encourage or fund any agreement,” point out, “we were not a party to the agreement.”
Approval was rejected 5-0.
Travel expenses that were advance by Gasser and two of his employees was also rejected.
One was a trip to the Carolinas for instruction on how to work a computerized truck diagnostic machine bought by Gasser’s predecessor.
Each of the expenses was explained at the regular Township meeting last week.
Approval failed by a two to two vote, with one abstention Shea and Lutzow voted in favor with Lawrence and Victor voting in the negative and Chapman abstaining.
Tie votes lose.
The third rejection was to pre-pay $6,000 for training in how to use chainsaws.
Shea thought it should be in next year’s budget.
Lawrence objected to transferring the money from road maintenance, noting that the Highway Commissioner had not replied to an email of October 10th or to two phone calls.
Chapman conveyed the information that the cost would higher if paid in the next budget year.
Chapman was the only one to vote in favor of transferring the money.
Moving $40,000 to pay the Edgar County Watchdogs also failed on a 5-0 vote.
Victor insisted on waiting for a court order, noting also that Gasser “doesn’t have the money to pay for it.”
“I don’t Mr. Gasser should have entered to this without talking to [attorney] Jim [Kelly], the Clerk and the Supervisor.
With no one wanting to make Public Comment, Lawrence read the following:
I would like to make one last statement:
As we’re all probably aware by now, Andrew Gasser has made a press release regarding a purchase of salt that may not have been in compliance with law.
[See :Algonquin Township Salt Bid Muffed.”]
On October 10th, I was tipped off by anonymous whistleblowers to an unusual and abnormal six-figure transaction within the Road District.
That same day, I sent Commissioner Gasser an email requesting the documents detailing that transaction, to ensure compliance with bidding laws.
Because the Highway Commissioner failed and/or refused to supply that information, or answer phone calls over several days, and with documents obtained by Clerk Lukasik and other sources, I turned over said documents to law enforcement and requested a proper investigation by the authorities to ensure full compliance with the law, as is my duty as an Algonquin Township Trustee.
I have faith that law enforcement will detect what, if any malfeasance took place, and take appropriate action, again-if any.
WE, the board of Trustees, ARE the watchdogs of Algonquin Township, and I do not regret taking the appropriate and responsible actions that I was elected to do.
I will continue to do my duty as a Trustee of Algonquin Township, without regard for politics, current or previous friendship, or bias.
Gasser did not attend the meeting.