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McHenry County Republicans call for Algonquin Township highway commissioner's resignation

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser talks during a board meeting June 13 in Crystal Lake.
Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser talks during a board meeting June 13 in Crystal Lake.

A letter calling for the resignation of Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser now is circulating among McHenry County’s Republican leaders.

The letter addresses McHenry County Republican Party Chairwoman Diane Evertsen, who could not be reached for comment.

“We could list all the infractions, real, designed or fabricated, that have unfolded in Algonquin Township, but they are plain to see for anyone following and attending their meetings, the newspaper or online media,” the letter reads. “The most egregious we find right now, in addition to all we witnessed, is that Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser is simply absent from his duties.”

The Northwest Herald could not reach Gasser for comment.

The highway commissioner’s declaration of a salt shortage emergency last week while he was in Mississippi seeing his significant other for Valentine’s Day amid winter weather was a pillar of the Republicans’ call for his resignation.

“He has declared an emergency of salt shortage during our most dangerous winter of ice storms in a decade and threatened to close roads even though salt is available from his neighboring townships,” the letter read. “During this emergency, he was in Madison, Mississippi, to spend Valentine’s Day with his ‘bestest half.’ ”

Hours before an Algonquin Township board meeting, where officials planned to revisit unpaid road salt bills that led to what Gasser called a salt shortage emergency, a FedEx package arrived at the township supervisor’s office from Gasser. Inside the package was a warrant list of road district bills Gasser wanted trustees to review and approve at the meeting, along with his signature.

Tracking data showed that Gasser dropped off the package at 2:05 p.m.
Feb. 12 at a FedEx Office Print and Ship Center almost 800 miles away in Madison, Mississippi.

Gasser later posted a video to the highway department’s Facebook page that he’d recorded in Mississippi. He explained that his Valentine’s Day plans were months in the making.

“We’re going to continue to choose joy at the highway department and township road district,” Gasser said in the video.

Algonquin Township needs a new highway commissioner, the letter contends.

“The Republican Party has a long history of a leadership that does not leave anyone behind, whether on the battlefield or the homefront,” the letter said. “We, the following undersigned committeemen, ask that in the name of the McHenry County Republican Party, that Mr. Andrew Gasser resign his position so that the party can name a competent replacement.”

Former McHenry County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill wrote the letter and sent it to local precinct committeemen.

“If you agree with me that the McHenry County Republican Party should ask the Algonquin Township highway commissioner to resign for the good of the Algonquin Township taxpayers,” Hill wrote, “please let me know, and I will add your name to the letter.”

A copy of the letter that the Northwest Herald obtained Tuesday morning included signatures from Hill and McHenry County Board District 5 representative John Jung.

Hill said she plans to bring the letter to the GOP’s Lincoln Day fundraiser Saturday at the Bull Valley Golf Club.

“I would like Chairman Evertsen to write a letter to Commissioner Gasser [asking for him to resign],” Hill said in an interview. “This is not benefiting the taxpayers. He’s taking a salary, and he’s not there.”

Algonquin Township Trustee Rachael Lawrence told the Northwest Herald that she added her signature to the letter.

A majority of the Algonquin Township board members called for Gasser’s resignation at a public meeting last week.

The packed meeting featured appearances from TV news crews who were curious whether the board would approve bills for 1,161 tons of road salt Gasser bought from Kansas supplier Compass Minerals without going through the state-mandated competitive bidding process – an apparent violation of Illinois Highway Code that now is at the center of an official misconduct investigation.

The board unanimously rejected the bills, 5-0.

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