EAST CHICAGO | Administration of the East Chicago Public Library will remain unchanged at least for another month after an emergency injunction sought by ousted library officials was rejected in court Wednesday.
Declaring that he could see no emergency, Lake Superior Court Judge John Pera set an April 29 deadline for the filing of legal claims in the lawsuit by former Library Director Manuel "Manny" Montalvo and Ricardo Garcia, a former library trustee.
The suit sought to nullify actions taken last month by the Library Board. The actions included the firing of Montalvo.
Dismissed on Wednesday as defendants from the original complaint were the city of East Chicago, Mayor Anthony Copeland, City Attorney Carla Morgan, Police Chief Augusto "Gus" Flores Jr. and Charles Moore, who was named interim library director March 16.
Pera set a filing schedule throughout April for papers involving the remaining defendants, the East Chicago School Board of Trustees, Library Board members Toni Smith, Sallie Davis and Hector Cavazos and East Chicago police Sgt. Louis Arcuri.
The lawsuit claims the School Board's appointment of Davis to the Library Board was illegal, making invalid any actions taken by the board on which Davis voted.
The actions also included the promotion of Moore as his replacement and the termination of contracts for legal representation with Carmen Fernandez, who is representing Montalvo and Garcia in the lawsuit, and Roy Dominguez.
Copeland replaced Garcia on the Library Board with Cavazos on March 9.
Three library trustees are appointed to four-year terms by the School Board, and the mayor, City Council, Lake County Board of Commissioners and Lake County Council each appoints one member.
Arcuri, while on duty as a city police officer, was dispatched to escort Montalvo from the library building after his termination by the disputed Library Board during the contentious March 16 meeting.
Fernandez has until April 15 to file responses regarding the Library Board claims under the judge's timetable, and until April 20 for filings regarding the School Board component of the lawsuit, with a final deadline for all responses April 29.
No hearing date after the final filing has yet been set.
"The hearing went very well," Montalvo said late Wednesday. "I am very optimistic for the final outcome."