Outgoing Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser took to social media yesterday as he left office. Below is the post captured from the Algonquin Township Highway Department page:
I just wanted to write a quick note and say thank you for the opportunity to serve you over the past four years as your highway commissioner, It hasn’t been easy and I fully admit some things could have gone better and take responsibility for those decisions. We have documented these things and passed on these lessons learned to incoming Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Danijela Sandberg.
We did so many great things together. This photograph captures just one of the many great moments and memories we did together. This is a Fox River Grove Fire Department Tanker Truck crossing a bridge that fell into disrepair. Fire trucks had not been able to cross the bridge in years due to weight restrictions. The joy on my face is dwarfed in comparison by the joy of the residents who lived on the other side of this bridge.
We fixed many of the difficult problems together – especially drainage issues that had been around awhile.
It is said that whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. I failed at this. Please don’t follow my example and learn just to hold it back, turn the other cheek, and carry on.
I pray all of you the very best and pray you and your families are prosperous moving forward.
Be Blessed Always,
The honorably retired Air Force Captain Gasser and Bob Miller had a contentious campaign. Gasser pointed out out questionable spending such as women’s clothing and Disneyland tickets that were purchased on the township credit card. Miller called into question Gasser’s lack of experience. A leaked video the Friday before the 2017 cost Miller the election. In it was Miller’s son-in-law Derek Lee recklessly discharging a firearm into a car. The Chicago Tribune reported the shock upset this way.
A legal battle with the International Union Of Operating Engineers Local 150 quickly. He maintained his campaign pledge to end nepotism that reigned underneath Bob Miller.
According to Gasser Miller was making over $117,000 annually in salary and benefits. He then hired his wife and county board member Anna May Miller who allegedly was earning $96,000 in salary and benefits as an office assistant. She concurrently sat on the McHenry County Board earning $24,000 annually and was the chairwoman of the Transportation Committee. Derek Lee, Miller’s first son-in-law (a foreman), was making almost $91,000 annually in 2017 and Andrew Rosencrans was making almost $92,000 annually – both numbers include salary and benefits.
Gasser fired Lee, Rosencrans, and former McHenry County Democrat County Board Member Nick Chirikos within minutes of assuming office. Gasser was ordered to take back both Lee and Rosencrans after lengthy court cases. Lee is now a foreman with the township. Rosencrans came back to the township but quit after collecting his settlement.
Nick Chirikos, who Gasser defeated in a heated contest for county board in 2014, withdrew his grievance and did not come back to work. At the time of this writing it is believed that Chirikos was hired after Miller lost the election in 2017.
Ultimately, Gasser lost all but one case and costing taxpayers over $800,000 in legal fees and over $280,000 in back pay.
The four years of Gasser’s leadership is filled with both successes and failures. He failed to get along with the township board, township attorney, and clerk. Gasser’s biggest contention was with the outgoing clerk Karen Lukasik. He believes that the outgoing clerk withheld emails and other documents from him when he assumed office.
Algonquin Township continues to have an open FOIA case.
Gasser cut the road district’s levy by $452,827 over four years or 10.02 percent. Two bridges were replaced, over five miles of roads were resurfaced, and Gasser claims to have modernized the truck fleet.
Before Gasser ran for highway commissioner he was elected to the McHenry County Board where he served three of his four years. Gasser receives a military pension but never received health or pension benefits from either the county or the township. Gasser was the only county board member (out of 24) to question health and pension benefits for sitting county board members in 2015.