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Local Government

Andrew Gasser resigns from McHenry County Board to focus on highway commissioner job

H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com
McHenry County Board members John Reinert (left) and Andrew Gasser have a discussion during the Feb. 16 meeting of the Committee of the Whole in Woodstock. Newly elected Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Gasser has resigned from the County Board, saying he needs to focus his attention on the new office. Gasser could hold both offices under state law, but he opposes the idea of double-dipping.
H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Board members John Reinert (left) and Andrew Gasser have a discussion during the Feb. 16 meeting of the Committee of the Whole in Woodstock. Newly elected Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Gasser has resigned from the County Board, saying he needs to focus his attention on the new office. Gasser could hold both offices under state law, but he opposes the idea of double-dipping.

WOODSTOCK – Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner-elect Andrew Gasser resigned from his seat on the McHenry County Board to give full attention to his new office.

Gasser, R-Fox River Grove, told his fellow County Board members at the end of Tuesday’s meeting that it would be his last. His resignation comes almost two months after he upset incumbent Highway Commissioner Bob Miller in the Feb. 28 Republican primary – Gasser ran unopposed in the April 4 election.

“It’s always been an honor and a privilege to serve on this McHenry County Board. I have never taken anything for granted. Every day has brought many interesting challenges, and I have grown so much personally, and it’s because of all the people I’ve served on this board with,” Gasser told his fellow members and county staff.

Although state law allows a county board member to simultaneously hold a highway commissioner office, Gasser said he would not have time to fully devote to both. He also said he did not want to double-dip government salaries. Although he only served on the County Board for two years, Gasser made a name for himself in county Republican politics after returning to his native Fox River Grove in 2012 after a 20-year military career.

Gasser, a Tea Party candidate, was part of a slate that successfully took over leadership of the county Republican Party in 2014 and worked to better mobilize and encourage precinct committeemen. He won the vice presidency of the party, and voters that November elected him to represent County Board District 1, which covers parts of Algonquin and Grafton townships in the county’s heavily populated southeast corner.

Gasser became a vocal proponent of tax relief and became well-known on the board floor and in interviews for reciting McHenry County’s ranking by a Washington, D.C., think tank as having the 29th highest property tax burden in the nation. He recited that number one last time during his farewell speech, eliciting laughs from fellow members.

He was just as vociferous of an opponent of board members having Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pensions – he turned down both the pension and the health insurance benefits that came with the seat at the time.

Gasser raised eyebrows among his fellow Republicans for supporting their abolition in the wake of a state investigation into board members’ eligibility requested by former state representative, and now McHenry County Board chairman, Jack Franks, D-Marengo.

In 2016, he turned his focus on Algonquin Township, specifically Miller, whose family had held the highway commissioner post for half a century.

He was elected president of the township GOP and subsequently spearheaded the party adopting a position against nepotism. Miller had his wife, former County Board member Anna May Miller, as his secretary, and had two sons-in-law on payroll.

One of Gasser’s final votes as a County Board member Tuesday was approval of a resolution that he co-authored with Franks to pledge a 10 percent cut in county government’s tax levy next year.

Gasser said Thursday that he feels as if he accomplished much in two years.

“I feel that I put the property tax issue front and center on the County Board. I thought it was wrong for County Board members to get pensions, and now that’s gone,” Gasser said.

It will be up to Franks, a Democratic chairman of a board with Republicans holding all but one of the 24 seats, to advance a replacement for a vote after the County Board officially declares a vacancy. Franks said the candidate he selects will be a Republican.

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