Trapani laments Milstein's departure, debate ensues

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What stirred more debate Monday among board members than the historic character of the Hoppe Building was a conspicuous exit by Trustee Robert Milstein, who later said he questioned the legality of holding the discussion at all.

The Hoppe Building was not listed on Monday night's agenda. Village Attorney Ray Heise arrived toward the end of a discussion on park district matters, armed with a memo and prepared to present his legal analysis of the Historic Preservation Commission's findings.

Milstein later said any discussion would be illegal because trustees reached a decision that evening?#34;even though a formal vote was not taken?#34;without the item being publicly posted.

"We are getting bad advice from our attorney," he said.

At the end of the board's discussion on Hoppe building-related matters, Village President Joanne Trapani said she wished Milstein would have stayed.

"I'm sorry Mr. Milstein left. It's unfortunate to rob colleagues of your wisdom," she said. "It's always unfortunate not to share a dissenting view. I would have stayed to try to convince my colleagues."

Rather than lamenting his exit, Trustee Ray Johnson said Milstein's move was "quite disturbing."

"This is not the first time. This is a pattern," he said.

Trustee Gus Kostopulos suggested maybe Milstein had "a pain" and had to leave for that reason. However, Trustee Galen Gockel, who also said he had concerns about the legality of discussing the issue, came to Milstein's defense.

"I will not criticize a colleague for leaving a discussion of something that was not on an agenda," he said.

Johnson continued to disapprove of Milstein's behavior, but said use of phone and electronic communication to debate policy matters bothered him more.

"It was a criticism on my part," he said. "I find using e-mail and voicemail for policy discussion offends me more."
?#34;Katharine Grayson

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