E.C. Library Board OKs pact for director, hires 2nd lawyer

2011-02-18T00:00:00Z E.C. Library Board OKs pact for director, hires 2nd lawyerBy Steve Zabroski Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 18, 2011 12:00 am  • 

EAST CHICAGO | Meeting in quorum for the first time since last fall, library trustees this week reaffirmed business conducted at a contested December session, extended their contract with the library's director and hired a second attorney.

The State Library and Historical Board last month recommended that trustees "re-do" their Dec. 15 meeting because the three members present did not constitute a legitimate quorum of the seven-member body.

With five trustees in attendance Wednesday, the board approved an addendum to its 2006 contract with Library Director Manuel Montalvo, extending his employment through September 2013.

The addendum reduces the director's annual pay by $20,000 beginning in September -- down to a salary of $86,000 -- and continues an additional payment of $600 per month to the director for fuel and vehicle costs.

"This contract addendum provides a measure of security," Montalvo said.

Trustees also approved a contract with former Lake County Sheriff Rogelio "Roy" Dominguez for work as a "secondary attorney" to Library Board attorney Carmen Fernandez.

Dominguez, who served as East Chicago corporation counsel from 1998 to 2002, will be paid $125 per hour for his work, with no upper limit to potential billing specified in the contract.

Both measures were opposed by former board President Clifton Johnson, who was relegated to secretary by the three trustees meeting on Dec. 15 while Johnson, a School City of East Chicago board appointee, was away on a scheduled vacation.

Two board members had resigned their positions prior to the meeting, leading Fernandez to interpret state law as allowing a majority of the remaining five members to constitute a quorum, a determination later rejected by state officials.

December business reaffirmed on 3-1-1 votes Wednesday included  borrowing $775,000 in tax anticipation warrants through the Indiana Bond Bank and renewal of the board's $175-per-hour contract with Fernandez through the end of 2011.

In her first meeting, Toni Smith, appointed to the Library Board by School Board members last month, abstained from voting.

Not in attendance was local Realtor Raul S. Sanchez, named by the City Council to the board on Monday despite advice from its attorney Stephen Bower that the appointment would be illegal.

State law prohibits a person from serving on more than one board for which there is compensation, Bower warned, and Sanchez currently sits on the city's Plan Commission as well as the East Chicago Urban Enterprise Association board.

Library Board members historically receive dental, health and vision insurance paid by the library at a cost of around $60,000 per year.

Montalvo said that Sanchez told him that he planned to resign from his planning and enterprise association positions.

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