Did Andrew Gasser Act in Bad Faith When He Fired Folks on His First Day in Office?

From Illinois Leaks, reprinted with permission:

Algonquin Township Road District – Questions answered – Part III


McHenry Co. (ECWd) –

To grasp the impact of Bob Miller’s actions prior to leaving office, we urge everyone to read Part I.

As outlined in Part II, this final article will address the three questions raised.

  • Upon knowledge of a CBA, why not bring the employees back and go through the process outlined in the CBA?
  • Everyone knows the CBA was being challenged but why?
  • Was it proper for Gasser to question the validity of the CBA?
Bob Miller

Considering Miller either failed to or refused to provide any documentation to support any of the steps taken to unionize, the indications were they were not. 

If they were not, is that not grounds to question the validity of the CBA?

We believe there is plenty of reasons to question and challenge the CBA and will outline a few of these below.

As far as bringing the employees back, while it sounds simple, such an action could tank the entire process of challenging the CBA. 

In this case, there were plenty of reasons to believe the CBA was not valid. 

If the position is you do not believe it is valid, bringing those employees back provides an acknowledgment of validity, which only helps to hurt a challenge of the CBA.

All that aside, there is language in the CBA which when reading plainly, points to a restriction that raises concerns worthy of a challenge in our opinion. 

While the intent of that language can be assumed, the plain reading of that language is very problematic.

“The District cannot dispose of existing equipment and materials which would prevent the employees from performing work that of the execution of this contract, they are able to perform.”

The agreement, now determined to be valid by the courts, clearly imposes restrictions on the Office of Highway Commissioner which conflict with his statutory powers found in the Highway Code.

Such a conflict, in our eyes, was worthy of a challenge, all employee issues aside.

Another worthy challenge is on the Open Meetings Act obligations for a Public Body as it relates to conducting all actions in an open meeting. 

The plain reading of the language in the Open Meetings Act requires all actions of public bodies to be done in public, not in the dark of night as was done with the CBA.

(e) Final action. No final action may be taken at a closed meeting. Final action shall be preceded by a public recital of the nature of the matter being considered and other information that will inform the public of the business being conducted.

Not only was there no public recital, but there was also zero information provided that informed the public of the business Miller was conducting, let alone informing the newly elected official as to what he had done.

Ironically, the transcript reflects the Lake County judge does not consider a Road District a public body subject to OMA, even though the Local 150 Union said they are a public body. 

The judge’s own words reflect he misquoted the definition of Public Body and we know he was wrong as even the Appellate Court confirmed a Road District is in fact a public body.

Judges claimed definition of Public Body:

“Just looking at the definition of 5 ILCS 120/1, which defines public body encompasses boards, bureaus, committees, commissions, subsidiary bodies including committees and subcommittees, that all seem to include or encompass meetings by decision-makers or advisory groups that include more than one member. And again the goal is that with the Open Meetings Act is that these decisions that are made by multiple members, decision-making bodies are going to be done in public and not behind the scenes.

So in just reading the statute, it would not appear that the highway commissioner, who is a sole official with certain statutory authorities, would have to conduct — would have to approve contracts and approve everything in an open meeting, since he is not a body, a committee, a board, or a subcommittee. “

What the judge missed was the proper citation and the fact in that definition of Public Body it outlines what is NOT a public body and it should be noted that it does not say a Road District is not a public body. 

Of interest is the fact it does not say they are, just as other Districts are not named such as a Park District, Library District, etc.  

The latter point was raised in proposed legislation to clarify the original intent of OMA, which was all units of government are considered a public body with the exceptions of those listed in the definition and the Appellate court said as much in this very case.

5 ILCS 120/1.02  “Public body” – includes all legislative, executive, administrative or advisory bodies of the State, counties, townships, cities, villages, incorporated towns, school districts and all other municipal corporations, boards, bureaus, committees or commissions of this State, and any subsidiary bodies of any of the foregoing including but not limited to committees and subcommittees which are supported in whole or in part by tax revenue, or which expend tax revenue, except the General Assembly and committees or commissions thereof. “Public body” includes tourism boards and convention or civic center boards located in counties that are contiguous to the Mississippi River with populations of more than 250,000 but less than 300,000. “Public body” includes the Health Facilities and Services Review Board. “Public body”  does not include a child death review team or the Illinois Child Death Review Teams Executive Council established under the Child Death Review Team Act, an ethics commission acting under the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, a regional youth advisory board or the Statewide Youth Advisory Board established under the Department of Children and Family Services Statewide Youth Advisory Board Act, or the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal.

What does it matter?

Andrew Gasser

As the newly elected official, Gasser believed the action taken by his predecessor was a detriment to the Road District and the taxpayers to the tune of millions of dollars for years to come. 

Looking at the long term picture, he believed any steps that can be taken to reverse that action was a worthy cause according to him. We understand many agree and many don’t. 

Either way, as the elected official it was his choice to make and as the courts have said for years, elected officials’ actions are why we have elections. 

When people support the action those officials tend to stay in office. 

When they don’t, they tend to be voted out.

While many are screaming about the legal costs, few realize the legal bills were not just tied to termination of employees but rather the basic application of the law as it relates to transparency. 

We know the Open Meetings Act applies to the Highway Commissioner because it mandates he take the training. 

If that portion of the law applies to him for training it is logical to believe so too does the rest of the law. 

All indications pointed to an OMA violation for the taking of action in secret and Gasser fought the case on that point and others. 

To our amazement, the courts have basically ruled that OMA does not apply when it comes to transparency and decisions by highway commissioners. 

That ruling will impact the taxpayers of Road Districts for years to come and at a cost we suspect will make the legal bills trivial, as pointed out in this article.

While there is plenty of cost analysis yet to be done to see what has been spent versus saved by Gasser’s actions, the one expense that is sure to face the taxpayers for many years beyond Gasser’s short time in office is the teeth and expense of a union contract in the public sector. 

A contract signed in the dark of the night by an elected official who lost at the ballot box, all done just days before the people’s choice took office.

While not all-inclusive, the above should be kept in perspective by those determined to cast blame on any one person.

Agree or disagree, Gasser’s actions have awoken the entire state on problems with the Township Road District laws and many are taking steps to rectify many of those shortcomings, both internally and legislatively.


Did Andrew Gasser Act in Bad Faith When He Fired Folks on His First Day in Office? — 19 Comments

  1. It’s always of interest to me, to read about anachronisms that are still around like AOL, Doonesbury, Howard Johnsons and Townships.

  2. Great Lies in political history:

    I’m here from the government and I’m here to help.

    No new taxes

    I didn’t inhale.

    I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman.

    You can keep your doctor.
    No quid pro quo.
    I had no knowledge of a union agreement.

  3. “Agree or disagree, Gasser’s actions have awoken the entire state on problems with the Township Road District laws and many are taking steps to rectify many of those shortcomings, both internally and legislatively.”

    What steps?

  4. Stephen are you saying the statements under oath on the point of knowledge of an agreement were lies?

    What evidence do you have the disproves the sworn testimony?

  5. If that were true, Pokorny, then why can’t Miller even provide the court with the Union contract!!!

    While you’re seen here as trying to be clever, you just showed how ignorant you are on this case.

  6. Rather comical that Miller has NO KNOWLEGE of anything reltated to a CBA but we must accept Gasser knew of the CBA and actually had a copy.

    Cant make this stuff up.

  7. What is with these guys always defending Gasser, who’s blowing who here?

    This article reads as if it were written by Gassers PR team.

  8. Moon, you a half-moon, half-wit. Gasser is the best thing that ever happened to Algonquin Township since its foundation.

  9. I never knew it could be stacked so high.

    Kirk Allen should be nominated for the On-line Explanatory Reporting Brian Williams award for BS.

    Trump needs Y’ll Dog’s bad, his team weak in comparison.

    Say Ryan Provenzano how about being transparent on what you know about the Contract Miller left sitting right in the middle of Gassers desk?

    He knew the Union was certified, that fact was printed right here.

    Once State certified employees are protected against retaliation, Gasser/Hanlon had to know that fact.

    It’s entertaining to watch the Dog’s waltz, it really is, shame it keep costing more of my tax $$$$$ to be wasted.

    Moving on, what about the delay in the hiring back of the employee, Andrew Gasser?

    In court you said because you were in the military, that you knew how to follow orders, so why aren’t you?

  10. The unionization was publicly posted, tons of people knew it was happening including Gasser as his March 15, 2017 letter to various unions including 150 proves.

    To claim over and over and over it was done in secret is just more BS waltzing.

    The Dog’s Hobby is wasting our tax $$$$!!!!

    A bunch of us who are ex military wondering why the Dog’s go out of their way to defend Gasser at every turn?

    Is this is an example of protecting your own since the Dog’s and Gasser are all retired military?

  11. Read this blog post, it shows that questioning was about what if any records Miller may of had in his possession.

    His answer to #8 shows the answer related to what records Bob had in his possession, not if a union contract existed that was left right in the middle of Gasser’s desk.


    “8. Identify any records related to bargaining with Local 150 during the time period of January 1, 2017 to May 17, 2017.
    ANSWER: I know of no such records. Nothing is in my possession or under my control Investigation continues. Defendant reserves the right to supplement this answer.”

    More to come, Anna’s reply to the same question.

  12. Nob, much like the dimwit Adam Shiff wants people to put stock in a blog post over sworn testimony. LOL.

    Got any real evidence that the CBA was on the middle of Gasser’s Desk?

    So far all evidence and testimony conflicts with your claim so until something official is put in the record you doing little to help your image Mr. Shiff.

  13. Kirk, to answer your question: none

    Miller will get ‘sick’ and the deposition will be rescheduled.

    But it’s not a ruse; he really will be quite ill trying to figure out how he can lie his way out of all the charges!

  14. Nob: When are you going to return the $ you stole taking 7 family members to Disneyland?

    It’s really time, Bob.

  15. Trexler, are you really Andrew Gasser, as those comments have to come from another world, the Twilight Zone.

    Brian Williams isn’t arrogant of a liar to be compared to Kirk, Kirk is more like Dan Rather or Rush Limbaugh.

    My bad.

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