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The clerk sat in silence at the meeting, but Lukasik shared her side of the story with the Northwest Herald.
“I tried to diffuse the situation, I asked her to leave,” Lukasik said. “I closed the door, and she put her foot in there. She blocked me in the door. I walked past her and brushed up against her. Now she says she’s got a bruise. Report it. If you’re going to block somebody in, what do you want me to do? It’s like those people who jump in front of a car. What are you trying to do? Get an insurance claim?”
Embattled in a lawsuit against Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser over allegations that she intended to destroy township documents to cover up wrongdoing by his predecessor, Bob Miller, Lukasik said bickering has been a constant since she took office.
“She constantly tries to bait me to react to her actions,” Lukasik said. “I didn’t do anything to her. If she would leave me alone and let me do my job, I would work just fine with her.”
Since Lukasik took office in May, the clerk has spent $40,719.53 on legal services, according to October financial records. Gasser has spent $135,676.40 for lawyers working on multiple lawsuits – already $40,000 more than the road district’s total annual budget for legal fees.
The infighting has annoyed Township Trustee Dave Chapman, who said he wishes everyone could get along and focus on doing right by taxpayers.
“Everybody flies to the extreme rather than trying to find things we have common ground on,” Chapman said. “That’s what’s happening in our township and that’s what’s happening in our country. We need to find common ground. It’s going to be tough sometimes, but that’s what we need to do to serve our residents.”
The infighting, Chapman said, has done nothing but distract elected officials from doing their jobs.
“We need to stop going for the throat,” Chapman said.
Little can be gained from petty politics – a practice that could lead to the demise of a township, said Kurt Thurmaier, director of Northern Illinois University’s Division of Public Administration.
“These are the kinds of squabbles that lead people to ask why do we even have Algonquin Township?” Thurmaier said. “If the township is spending township tax dollars on political squabbles and infighting, what’s the added value of having this elected body if the same jobs could be done as effectively by the county?”