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Suburban Snow Removal Czar Literally Phones It In From Florida

By Jim Bochnowski in News on Jul 21, 2015 9:15PM

As the rest of Chicago suffered through an endless snowstorm this past winter, one man handsomely paid to coordinate snow removal in Oswego opted to do it from the relative comforts of sunny Florida.

Gary Grosskopf has served as Oswego Township's road commissioner for 26 years. He's responsible for overseeing the maintenance of roads in the western suburb, including snow removal during the coldest months. He earns $95,912 a year, making him by far the highest paid employee of the village, according to CBS2.

But Grosskopf's neighbors noticed he was nowhere to be found last winter. They discovered a stream of Facebook photos and updates of him in Florida, and decided to file a Freedom of Information Act request for his phone records.

The results of the records request? From April 2014 through June 2015, Grosskopf appears to have spent 321 days in Florida and 67 days in Illinois. The records also show that Grosskopf was in Florida from Dec. 10, 2014 to Mar. 5, 2015—a period which includes the coldest months of the year and Super Bowl Sunday, when a particularly nasty blizzard hit the state.

“I would call it ghost pay-rolling,” Told Milliron, the activist responsible for the records request, told reporters. “Job abandonment may be another term that could be used.”

Grosskopf's son, Aaron, who coincidentally works for his dad, insisted to CBS2 that Grosskopf was living with him in Oswego. Town supervisor Jim Detzler also may have fudged the truth on Grosskopf's whereabouts, according to CBS2, reporting that he was out last week but would return to town by Monday. And when the reporter pressed Detzler on how much time a guy responsible for monitoring roads should spend in Florida, he initially responded: "He can go to Florida as much as he likes," and, "He's in constant contact all the time by phone with his employees."

After further questioning, Detzler eventually conceded, "I can see how the public in Oswego might be concerned ... I'll look into it, absolutely."

The Kendall County Sheriff's department is investigating Grosskopf's behavior, according to authorities.

A number of Oswego residents told CBS2 they were miffed over Grosskopf's snow-birding tendencies:

“It’s shocking,” says Nicki Volpe, who lives in Oswego. “How could that be? How could Illinois allow that?”

“Wow,” says Gerald Houston Jr. “It would be nice if he would supervise the people that need to be supervised.”