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Anti-nepotism platform spreading among McHenry County GOP organizations

Andrew Gasser
Andrew Gasser

If you’re a Republican official who gives government jobs and business to family, a growing number of county GOP organizations won’t want to do business with your re-election campaign.

A decision by the Algonquin Township Republican Central Committee to adopt an anti-nepotism resolution has been picking up steam among other local Republican organizations. Two other township Republican committees also have adopted it, and a third that comprises the county’s rural townships is set to do so.

The idea was put together by a team, but started with new Algonquin Township GOP Chairman Andrew Gasser, who said nepotism has long been griped about by Republican officials, but nothing was being done. Gasser, a Fox River Grove resident who also is a member of the McHenry County Board, had been vice chairman of the McHenry County Republican Party until deciding earlier this year to run for the township organization.

The resolution, which was adopted May 6 by a unanimous vote of the township’s 59 Republican precinct committeemen, defines nepotism as patronage involving hiring, contracting, monetary gain or favoritism based on family relationship.

“This isn’t about any one person, not at all,” Gasser said. “This is about good government, and making it more for the people, and less for the institutionalized power that is nepotism. We have to do something about it.”

But while the resolution is nonbinding, it contains an explicit warning that the township GOP will support candidates dedicated to eliminating nepotism – in other words, candidates who don’t do government business with family will get the party’s backing over candidates who do.

Although the initiative’s supporters have been careful not to name names, feathers have been ruffled nonetheless. The resolution began in Algonquin Township, where Highway Commissioner Robert Miller has his wife and several relatives on the payroll.

Officials and County Board members also have openly questioned the decision by County Clerk Mary McClellan after her 2014 election to hire her husband as a supervisor. The act, as well as other examples of children of county officials ending up with government jobs, not only prompted Republican Joe Tirio’s decision to run for recorder, but also inspired the address of his campaign website, www.IWontHireMyWife.com.

Tirio, of Woodstock, helped Gasser and others craft the anti-nepotism resolution. Tirio is running on a platform of abolishing the recorder’s office altogether.

“It wasn’t the final straw, but it was a contributing straw,” Tirio said.

The resolution has since been adopted by the Republican central committees of McHenry and Dorr townships. The NorWest Township Republican Central Committee, which is made up of the 12 townships in the county’s more lightly populated west and north, is set to vote as well, Gasser said.

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