[Sarah Nader file photo – firstname.lastname@example.org]
'NOT PLAYING WELL TOGETHER IN THE SANDBOX'
Some Algonquin Township trustees have said Lukasik had a difficult time doing her job from day one because of her political connections to Bob Miller.
Lukasik campaigned for clerk on the same slate as Miller and trustee candidates David Chapman, Dan Shea, Melissa Victor and Terence Ferenc. Everyone but Miller and Ferenc won a seat.
After she won the election, Lukasik, who pressed for government transparency during her term as a Cary village trustee, talked openly about her goal as clerk to eliminate unneeded paper documents stored inside the township while following the rules of a state destruction order.
“That campaign got turned around to make it look like she wanted to destroy records,” Chapman said. “Of course, that’s the farthest thing from the truth."
Local governments do not have unilateral authority to destroy records under state law. Public bodies in the county must apply in writing to the Downstate Local Records Commission, which decides in a hearing whether the records in question can be destroyed. Documents that are the subject of litigation – such as the ones referenced in the injunction – cannot be ruled on by the commission while the litigation is active.
Lukasik has been a target since the beginning, Chapman said, sharing an anecdote about a time she requested all of Gasser’s road district documents.
She showed up to the office to find heavy filing cabinets stacked on the landing outside her office, Lukasik and Chapman said. They were too heavy for her to move.
“There’s no reason for the meanness,” Chapman said. “All I can tell you is I’m supporting Karen because she wants to be the best clerk she can be. That was a nasty deal with that hidden camera.”
Not everyone agrees about the camera.
“It wasn’t hidden,” said township Trustee Rachael Lawrence, who saw pictures of where the camera was found. “It’s not a spy camera."
Nest markets the sleek cameras as a tool to help people look after their homes and families. The cameras feature 24/7 livestreaming, a magnetic stand and an app that allows users to get alerts away from home.
Township officials informed Lawrence that they bought the camera to ensure the safety of township records after Gasser’s complaint, she said. She would not comment on who inside the office installed the camera.
During her run for trustee, she campaigned against nepotism in Bob Miller's highway department and cited her "ethical and moral reservations about what some call the abuse of his position to benefit his own interests."
Although some trustees have denounced the mounting legal bills in Gasser's court battles, Lawrence has defended the spending. She called the bills "commensurate" for the work of Gasser's lawyers.
Asked whether she believes Lukasik is an instrument to cover up wrongdoing during Miller's 26 years in office, Lawrence’s answer was simple: “Yes.”
Lukasik’s support from other trustees is tied to their history with Bob Miller, she said.
“They ran as a group; they put out joint mailings,” Lawrence said. “Their whole little group.”
The township clerk denies making any decision based on her politics.
"I'm not a political person," Lukasik said. "I'm here to do my job, and they won't let me."
As an attorney sitting on the outside of Algonquin Township offices, McArdle sees a situation dictated by petty politics.
“The elected officials are not playing well together in the sandbox,” McArdle said. “They need to.”
The highway commissioner contends that litigation was the only way to change things inside Algonquin Township.
“It’s just spiraled out of control,” Gasser said. “I wish it wouldn’t have cost all the money it did, but I don’t know if it could be handled better in this political climate.”