Banned Gail Borden trustee gets OK to attend forum
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For the first time in more than 3½ years, Gail Borden Public Library Trustee Randy Hopp will be able to enter the library for something other than a board meeting.
The board of trustees unanimously voted Tuesday night to allow Hopp -- who's banned from the Elgin library other than board meetings -- to attend an election forum organized by the League of Women Voters of the Elgin Area on Thursday night at the library.
Hopp is running for re-election along with incumbent Susan Moylan, and challengers Patricia Harkin and Elizabeth Kruger. Three seats will be open in the April election.
Hopp has been banned since June 2009, just a few months after he was elected, after staff members complained of threatening and harassing behavior.
Since then, he's been allowed into the library only for board meetings, to which he is escorted by security personnel. He will be escorted on Thursday as well, library officials said.
The board has voted several times to continue the exclusion, most recently in December.
There was no discussion before Tuesday night's vote.
"It's a step of progress with this that I'm allowed into the sacred library for something other than a board meeting," Hopp said after the meeting.
Hopp said he had asked board President Richard McCarthy to put an item on the agenda calling for a vote to end the ban altogether.
McCarthy, however, said he thought that wouldn't have enough support among board members to succeed.
"It's important that (Hopp) would come to the league's forum," he said.
Board Vice President Jean Bednar said the matter was straightforward.
"Everyone has the right to run for office," Bednar said.
"The reason he's not allowed in the library is because of behavior problems, but I'm not concerned that we'll have a problem (on Thursday)."
Hopp said that, if re-elected, he'll petition the board again to end the ban. "It will be even more important then," he said.
Hopp also faces felony charges of attacking his elderly parents. He is next due in court March 20.
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