State rep unfazed by highway boss' nepotism
Illinois State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) says she's backing Bob Miller's bid for re-election as Algonquin Township highway commissioner despite criticism over his hiring of family members.
"Lots of politicians do it," Wheeler told the McHenry Times. "(President Donald) Trump is doing it.”
Miller's two sons-in-law and his wife, Anna, work for him in the highway department, collectively earning $400,000 per year before taxpayer-funded pension contributions.
“I happen to know Anna Miller; she’s an intelligent and capable woman," Wheeler said. "Who am I to say how much money she should earn?”
Anna May Miller earns $96,697 as her husband's secretary, while Bob Miller's sons-in-law Derek Lee and Andrew Rosencrans earn $91,027 and $92,245, respectively.
“To me, it’s worse to hire or elect someone not capable of doing the job,” Wheeler said. “I don’t begrudge him for trusting his wife enough to hire her.”
The Algonquin Township Republican Central Committee recently unanimously approved a resolution condemning nepotism in all forms of public hiring or “favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship.”
Wheeler said Andrew Gasser, Miller's opponent in Tuesday’s primary, is being hypocritical for attacking Miller's hiring of family while simultaneously supporting Trump. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, serves on his personal staff in the White House.
“That he’s made public statements about this ... strikes me as disingenuous,” she said.
Miller’s father, Delbert W. “Del” Miller, bequeathed him the department head position in 1993. Delbert Miller’s father-in-law, Julian Dvorak, ran the department from 1964 to 1976.
Miller has worked in the Algonquin Township Highway Department since Dvorak hired him in 1972, when he was just 20 years old.
The Cook County Board also recently passed a series of anti-nepotism ordinances after Assessor Joseph Berrios hired both his sister and son.
“I don’t do it, but it’s the season of bipartisan nepotism,” Wheeler said.