Edgar County Watchdogs Provide Legal Clarity

The following article is reprinted with permission from the author.

The ECWd clarify discrepancies in the Northwest Herald article printed yesterday http://www.nwherald.com/2018/01/23/algonquin-township-highway-commissioner-andrew-gasser-wins-round-in-labor-dispute/ab2gl2v/

Algonquin Township – State Labor Relations Board rejects Administrative Law Judge recommendations

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –

When it comes to legal terminology and rules of civil procedure, the language used has distinct meaning and procedures are in place for well-established reasons.

Many legal cases in our history are won or lost on a technicality.

After reading some of the local reporting, we would like to first start by pointing out some red flags we see which may lead readers to an understanding not supported by the recent ruling.

It has been claimed the order was reversed. That is not correct.  The order stated, “we reject the ALJ’s recommendations and remand the matter for further proceedings.”

A rejection of recommendations is not a reversal, especially when it points to remanding the matter for further proceedings, which is where the real meat and potatoes of this case will be argued.

A reversal would be that the three employees in question do not get their jobs back.

Local 150 protests before a 2017 Algonquin Township meeting.

It has been reported: “On Sept. 28, Administrative Law Judge Deena Sanceda granted that request. By not responding, the highway department waived its right to a hearing and admitted to the unfair labor allegations, Sanceda said.”

That reporting raised red flags because we know the highway department did not admit to the unfair labor allegations.

We believe proper reporting should have clarified the ALJ’s response to better inform the public.

From the Decision and Order:

“Noting that the Board and courts have consistently applied Section 1220.40(b) to hold that a failure to answer a complaint for hearing results in the admission of all allegations in the complaint, ALJ Sanceda granted Local 150’s motion and deemed the factual and legal allegations as stated in the Complaint admitted, providing the basis for finding the Highway Department violated the Act.”

What happened in this case, from the actual Decision and Order: “ALJ Sanceda granted Local 150’s motion and deemed the factual and legal allegations as stated in the Complaint admitted”. 

We agree, a failure to answer a complaint results in the Board and Court’s ability to hold (deem) such failure as an admission of allegations.

However, holding a legal position because of a procedural failure (answering the complaint) is much different than the party actually admitting to the unfair practice as was reported.

One can lose a case because of a procedure failure and the courts may hold that failure as an admission, but that is not the same as claiming the party actually admitted to the allegations in the complaint.

Andrew Gasser

Andrew Gasser has never admitted to the allegations in the complaint.

The technicality applied, in this case, was that of proper service.

All lawyers know without proper service a case can be scuddled fairly quickly.

It would appear the Union understood this argument as they filed a Motion to Amend by properly naming the party to be served, which could be “deemed” an admission of improper service.

While many are attempting to minimize the difference between a Road District and a Highway Department, a procedural technicality applied, in this case to the Road District’s advantage, we want people to know what the law says.

Over time the co-mingling of terms by Highway Commissioners is what has created this legal technicality that so many want to downplay.

Although the common citizen knows what unit of government is being tied up in litigation, how many know the legal names that should be applied?

A Highway Commissioner is an officer of the Township. They are the Highway Commissioner of a Road District.

A Road District is the Township.

“Each township of the several counties under township organization, for the purposes of this Code, shall be considered and is called a road district for all purposes relating to the construction, repair, maintenance, financing and supervision of township roads unless under prior law it has been or pursuant to this Code is consolidated into a consolidated township road district or into a county unit road district.”

What is a Highway Department?

Who knows, as that term is not found anywhere in the Illinois Highway Code or the Township Code.

So if there is no legal reference to a Highway Department, why on earth would the Lawyer for the Union name the Highway Department?

The Administrative code for labor disputes clearly spells out who should be served.

“The charging party shall serve a copy of the charge upon the respondent. Service may be made personally, or by registered mail, certified mail, regular mail, or private delivery service.”

Who is the respondent?  The Highway Commissioner, an elected Officer of the Township.

Over the years Township Highway Commissioners have referred to their office and employees as the Highway “Department”, even though technically there is no legal office of Highway Department. It is simply an administrative reference to the public office of Highway Commissioner of a Road District.

The co-mingling of terms appears to be what created this “technical” victory in Algonquin.

I suspect this issue will become part of the Township Officials of Illinois future training sessions.

The copy of the actual decision and order can be downloaded here or viewed below.

Algonquin Township – State Labor Relations Board rejects Administrative Law Judge recommendations

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Edgar County Watchdogs Provide Legal Clarity — 11 Comments

  1. Where is Pat Kenneally? Why is there no grand jury to get to the bottom of 1) Grand Theft Algonquin Township; 2) All of Reinert’s forged candidacy petition signatures; 3) Clerk Lukasik’s attempted destruction of damning public records; 4) Jim Condon (McH Township ordering township workers to do nasty things and run for GOP Committeeman spots … or face dismissal; 5) Mary McClellan’s husband-hiring and crookedness?

  2. Correct. There is no such thing as a township”Highway Department. “

  3. Edgar county mongrels giving legal opinions. A little knowledge in the hands of a fool

  4. The problem here is that there are no effective checks and balances on township officials, especially Road Commissioners.

    The law governing townships hasn’t changed since the 1850’s.

    Back then nepotism, favoritism, patronage etc.. were normal parts of government.

    Abe Lincoln spent a large part of his Presidency interviewing applicants for patronage jobs and government contracts. Party loyalty and personal favors were considered to be normal criteria for the jobs.

    When you carry that over into the 21st Century, you have a Road Commissioner loading up the payroll with relatives and then, when he is defeated for re election, signing the Road District up for union representation so his own relatives can’t be fired.

    Labor Relations Law also favors workers and unions and is designed to promote and protect unionization.

    When all the dust settles, Miller will probably win this one as he has the law on his side.

    This is yet another reason why the townships need to be abolished. You can’t reform them due to the heavy lobbying influence of the Township Officials of Illinois.

    Only the ballot box will set you free.

    People don’t have to wait for the McSweeny bill, which probably won’t pass. They can do it now by referendum for his Fall’s election on a township by township basis.

    You can start with AL township.

    You need 8% of the number of people who voted for governor in 2014 to sign a petition.

    Then it is on the ballot.

    You can single out the Road District if you want.

    The forms of the questions would be: “Shall Township organization in ______ Township be continued? Yes. No.

    “Shall the Township Road District in _______ Township be continued? Yes. No.

    Have at it people.

    Or stop complaining.

  5. Kay_Passa – How do you know there is no grand jury? How do you know Kenneally is doing nothing? Looks like the Reinert matter is ripe for prosecution, but what does it take to address such a prosecution? Based on “Grand Theft Algonquin township” its at least eight months after you leave office. I can’t imagine that his office is ignoring anything. Pat has good people working for him. I suspect that they are working to do the job right. Why else is Miller’s attorney refusing to produce him for any deposition pending an investigation? Lukasik is on camera so what do they need? (Maybe her side of the story? -huh) Condon is a case that is a he said she said, and McCellan hiring her husband is not unlawful. Bob Miller hired his whole family and that isn’t even part of “Grand Theft Algonquin township” as you put it.

  6. Frank. Prosecutions are done quietly. I imagine that things are in the works. Bob may get away with the union scam but he may have other worries.

  7. As with any monopoly, lack of competition and oversight allows the monopoly holder the luxury of complacency and the ability to play Lady Bountiful with potential
    Defendants regarded as ‘friendlies’…At the sole discretion of monopoly holder.

    No surprise that crypto currency Icos are so rapidly accepted as disruption of incestuous and corrupted status quo.

    There is a visceral positive response from all citizens of all political.parties when queried about a new system which enables citizens to:
    Post specific complaints accompanied by evidence (easily obtained by FOIA)
    Enable attorneys to bid for qui tam lawsuit representation rights.

    Watchdog citizens now have protection of anonymity AND get paid for detective work.
    Bad actors get removed from positions of power to exploit citizens.

    No longer will the sole right of prosecution ofbad actors belong to humans with personal agendae, who are subject to threats or temptation.

  8. It might seem minor, but it’s hard to trust the reportage of a source who uses “scuddled” (to move hurridly) when they meant “scuttled” (to sink or destroy).
    Especially in a piece criticising other’s verbiage.

  9. Doodie- a little knowledge In the hands of a fool describes a former highway commissioner with a claddagh ring known to complain about the breast size of women seated in courtrooms.

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