Naperville Township Highway commissioner files lawsuit over budget cuts

  • Naperville Township Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak filed a lawsuit objecting to budget cuts made during a feud about road services with the city of Naperville.

    Naperville Township Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak filed a lawsuit objecting to budget cuts made during a feud about road services with the city of Naperville. Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/19/2016 12:35 AM

Naperville Township Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak has taken to the legal system to seek approval of his road district's full budget, saying the township supervisor and two trustees cut his authorized spending in retaliation for his rejection of a road services contract with the city of Naperville.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks to nullify the reduced budget of $2,075,005 approved May 10 and require the township board to approve his tentative budget of $2,619,330 -- or enough to "properly fund the functions of the highway commissioner and road district."

 

The suit also seeks to stop the township from filing the reduced budget with the DuPage County Clerk and prevent Township Supervisor Rachel Ossyra and trustees Janice Anderson and Kerry Malm from interfering with road district operations.

The three township officials, the suit claims, cut Wojtasiak's spending "specifically to deprive" the highway commissioner of his right to run the road district as required by state law.

Ossyra and Anderson said they were aware of the lawsuit but hadn't read it as of late Wednesday afternoon. Malm did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In a 3-2 vote, township trustees cut Wojtasiak's budget by lowering or eliminating authorized spending for categories including salaries, fuel, road salt, maintenance, engineering services, retirement payments, social security contributions and miscellaneous expenses.

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In place of some of that spending, they added two line items for an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Naperville totaling $527,500, under which the city would provide road maintenance, landscaping and snow plowing for 49.3 lane miles of unincorporated streets.

The net decrease from the changes was $544,325.

The cuts leave Wojtasiak without enough money to operate for the rest of the fiscal year, which concludes March 31, 2017, he says. The lawsuit claims Wojtasiak will run out of budgeted money to pay the salaries of his six employees around June 30. Then a public safety issue could arise if, for example, a tree falls on a township road and there is no money or staff to take care of it, the lawsuit says.

The suit has a status hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13, in front of Judge Paul Fullerton.

In the meantime, Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger said the city sent Wojtasiak a letter offering to continue talks toward a road services agreement.

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