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Historical society tiff settled

Group’s leader gives up battle for control

Pat Gorman (left) and Bob Gibler.
Pat Gorman (left) and Bob Gibler.

DIXON – Bob Gibler, the longtime president of the Lee County Historical Society, gave up his fight to stay at the helm Tuesday.

On Nov. 13, Lee County resident Pat Gorman beat Gibler 9-8 in the election for president. A couple of days after the meeting, however, Gibler informed Gorman that he didn’t accept the outcome.

Gibler, a Lee County Board member and former Dixon mayoral candidate, convinced the society’s board to hold another election, which was set for Tuesday evening.

About 6 hours before the meeting, Gibler announced it was canceled.

“In opinions from attorneys, it is in the best interest of the Lee County Historical Society to move forward,” he said in an email to members. “The results of the November 13th meeting and elections are regarded as official.”

Gorman said he was pleased with Gibler’s decision.

“I congratulate Mr. Gibler for doing the right thing for the society,” he said.

Gorman’s term begins Jan. 1.

In running for the position, Gorman said he wanted to promote sharing of resources between the society and the Lee County Genealogical Society, which he led until his term as president ended Monday.

Late last week, Gorman sent a mass email calling Gibler a “sore loser,” pleading for the community’s support. In the email, he said he tried to stop Gibler with a letter from his lawyer, but that he didn’t have much hope of winning.

In an interview last week, Gibler said Gorman’s candidacy “blindsided” him and other members. He said those voting for Gorman were members who didn’t normally show up at meetings.

“We usually have the same people who come all the time,” Gibler said. “If I had known something was in the wind, I would have made a few phone calls [to get support].”

He also said Gorman wasn’t a member. Earlier the day of the election, Gorman gave his $25 in membership dues to the society’s treasurer, but Gibler said Gorman didn’t turn in a membership application.

Two days after the election, Gorman showed up at the historical society’s building, where Gibler informed Gorman that he wasn’t a member. Gibler tried to return the $25, but Gorman didn’t take it.

Gorman said he had shown the society’s bylaws to three attorneys, and all agreed that payment of dues was the only requirement to become a member.

Gibler couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

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