Local

1 of 3 Algonquin Township Highway Department employees who need to be rehired back at work

Andrew Rosencrans (left) and Derek Lee speak at an Algonquin Township board meeting in 2017 in Crystal Lake. Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser fired Rosencrans and Lee, but an arbitrator recently ruled that they need to be rehired.
Andrew Rosencrans (left) and Derek Lee speak at an Algonquin Township board meeting in 2017 in Crystal Lake. Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser fired Rosencrans and Lee, but an arbitrator recently ruled that they need to be rehired.

Out of the three road district employees who arbitrators said need to be rehired by the Algonquin Township Highway Department, only one has gone back to work.

Andrew Rosencrans returned to work Monday, said lawyer Bryan Diemer, who represented him and other Local 150 members in arbitration.

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser originally fired Rosencrans, former road district foreman Derek Lee and former McHenry County Board member Nick Chirikos shortly after taking his oath of office in January 2018.

In response, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed grievances for all three employees.

Abirtrators in both Rosencrans’ and Lee’s cases later ruled that the two were wrongfully terminated and need to be rehired and receive all wages and benefits that were lost to them while not employed by the highway department. Chirikos’ case still has yet to heard in front of an arbitrator, and a date for his hearing has not been finalized yet.

It has not yet been calculated how much Rosencrans is owed in back pay, and Lee has not been rehired to his former position as a road district foreman.

Ed Maher, Local 150 spokesman, said Lee’s back pay wages amount to $73,987, and he is entitled to five weeks of vacation and five personal days.

Another employee, Dan Morrison, who originally was fired for smoking on Algonquin Township premises, also has to be rehired and compensated for lost wages. In arbitrator Dennis P. McGillan’s decision from Nov. 4, he said the road district has 30 days to rehire Morrison and give him his back pay, making the deadline to do this Dec. 4.

McGillan ruled that if the deadline was not met, he would add interest to the back pay awarded to Morrison “at the highest rate allowable under Illinois law.” According to the decision, the interest is awarded on all back pay he is owed.

As of Wednesday night, Morrison had not been rehired, Diemer said.

Morrison is entitled to about $39,000 in back pay, Diemer said, and two weeks of vacation, five personal days and eight sick days.

Diemer said if Morrison is not reinstated by the deadline, he will file an appropriate motion in front of the arbitrator.

“We’ll seek to enforce the award,” Diemer said. “Ultimately, if the road district doesn’t want to enforce the decision, we’re going to have to seek relief in the circuit court. ... I would imagine we’re not there yet, but ultimately an arbitrator doesn’t have the power to enforce an award.”

Gasser did not return a phone message seeking comment on when or if he plans to rehire the employees.

“It’s not often that an employer would ignore an arbitrator’s award,” Diemer said. “I have been practicing law for 20 years. I don’t know I’ve ever seen this happen.”

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