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Elgin library board member banned from library
By Harry Hitzeman | Daily Herald Staff

Randy Hopp

 

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Published: 7/1/2009 3:50 PM

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A recently elected Gail Borden Library trustee has been banned for a year from visiting the place that his constituents frequent: the library itself.

Randy Hopp, a retired engineer who was extremely critical of the library's leadership on the way to winning a 4-year seat on April 2009, was banned from library grounds and forbidden from checking out materials after the seven-member board met behind closed doors Tuesday night.

Contacted by phone today, Hopp was no longer talking.

"I'd rather have no comment on this," he said. "My function as a library trustee is not compromised."

A phone message left with Hopp's attorney was not immediately returned.

A message left for Carole Medal, the library's executive director, also went unanswered.

The library issued a statement today explaining some, but not all, of what occurred.

The statement did not identify Hopp, but hinted that the person in question was a library trustee.

It read: "Due to unfortunate circumstances involving disturbing behavior by a library customer when interacting with several different library staff members, the Gail Borden Public Library board of trustees has voted to suspend that individual's library use privileges for a period of one year. Prior to the suspension, staff reported verbal exchanges with staff members that disturbed them and interfered with their ability to perform their assigned duties. It is expected that the Board's action will not affect further Board activities in future Board meetings."

Library board President Rick McCarthy offered a prepared statement.

"It is unfortunate that we needed to take this action," he wrote. "The library staff and customer environment is of utmost importance to us."

McCarthy was unavailable for additional comment; a message for Jean Bednar, the board's vice president, was not returned.

Hopp called the Daily Herald offices Tuesday morning, saying he feared Medal and the board would attempt to somehow oust him from the board at a closed-door meeting later that night.

Hopp said today that he was the lone dissenting vote on the suspension.

"It was definitely not a justified action, that's for sure," he said. "The allegations as presented were not complete and false, but I can't talk about it."

During the spring campaign, Hopp criticized a $1.3 million renovation to the library's second floor and said Medal needed to be replaced as director.

Three, 4-year seats were available and Hopp finished third in a four-person field.

Hopp essentially ousted longtime trustee Herb Gross this spring, finishing with 4,289 votes to Gross' 3,995.