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Algonquin Township highway commissioner wants clerk to pay back $250 bonus from Bob Miller

Algonquin Township highway commissioner wants clerk to pay back $250 bonus

Whitney Rupp for Shaw Media
Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik listens to a public comment at the Feb. 14 board meeting.
Whitney Rupp for Shaw Media Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik listens to a public comment at the Feb. 14 board meeting.

ALGONQUIN TOWNSHIP – Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser wants Clerk Karen Lukasik to pay back a $250 bonus she received from former Highway Commissioner Bob Miller in 2016, according to court records.

Gasser’s attorney filed an amended complaint Tuesday tied to the highway commissioner’s June 1 lawsuit against Lukasik, Miller and Miller’s wife, Anna May Miller, who worked as road district secretary.

With a request for Bob Miller to pay back more than $47,000 in accumulated sick pay the township paid him before he left office and a restraining order to prevent the destruction of records, the latest complaint alluded to the more than $242,000 in unexplained bonuses Bob Miller paid from 2013 to 2017.

The complaint alleges Lukasik is out to obstruct Gasser from reviewing records to cover up years of wrongdoing by the highway commissioner’s predecessor. The court document highlights receipts he said show that Bob Miller used public funds to buy handbags, women’s clothing and other personal items – including plane tickets to Disneyland.

The complaint’s latest material points to a $250 bonus Lukasik received in December 2016 – more than two months before voters elected her Algonquin Township’s clerk. During that time, Lukasik was not a full-time employee, but she drove a bus for the highway department on an hourly basis, making $15 an hour.

She received the bonus – characterized as miscellaneous pay – for “going above and beyond” her duties, according to a Northwest Herald investigation.

Attorney Robert Hanlon wrote the complaint on behalf of Gasser and argued Lukasik should pay back that money.

Hanlon described the bonus as an “excess payment” with no public purpose” and “unlawful.”

“By way of this action, the Road District seeks the return of the $250.00 that was not earned by Lukasik but paid to her,” Hanlon wrote.

The Northwest Herald could not reach Lukasik for comment Friday.

Prosecutors inside the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office homed in on the unexplained bonuses amid a wider probe into official misconduct during Bob Miller’s time at the Algonquin Township Highway Department.

Township officials have no written policy explaining or supporting those payments.

Miller’s highway department distributed the bulk of those payments, about $242,000, to employees from May 2013 to May 2017.

The bonuses are in payroll reports under a line item labeled “Misc.” Pay for regular hours, overtime, vacation, holidays and sick leave are listed as separate earnings. The flat payments ranged from $100 to $1,900 a period, according to payroll reports.

Payroll records from Bob Miller’s time in office showed his two sons-in-law earned about $55,000 in miscellaneous pay between them during from 2013 to 2017. Anna May Miller, the former highway commissioner’s wife and secretary, received $29,090 in miscellaneous pay.

Miller led the highway department for 24 years and lost his seat in 2017 to Gasser.

The first-term highway commissioner has continued the payments on a smaller scale, but said he put policies in place to codify the pay practices. Gasser has not provided those policies to the Northwest Herald. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Hanlon would not comment on whether he plans to ask other road district employees to repay bonuses Bob Miller paid them: “I can’t tell you what I’m going to do tomorrow.”

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