EAST CHICAGO | The East Chicago Public Library is fighting a claim by its former director for unemployment compensation.
The Library Board fired Manuel "Manny" Montalvo in March for alleged financial improprieties and criminal convictions in Illinois on misdemeanor charges of battery, disorderly conduct and trespassing.
Earlier this month, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development determined his termination was "not reasonable," paving the way for him to collect $390 per week in benefits.
The agency ruled that it "cannot be established" that Montalvo, the library's director for five years, violated any "reasonable and uniformly enforced" policy of his employer.
Library officials last week appealed that decision, supplying state adjudicators with copies of the library's personnel policy handbook, Montalvo's employment contract, minutes of the board meeting during which he was fired, and a recently released State Board of Accounts audit.
The audit recommends that Montalvo, who received an annual salary of $106,000, reimburse the library $12,378 for travel, lodging, food and vehicle costs for which no library business purpose could be determined.
Acting as a collection agent for the State Board of Accounts, the Indiana attorney general's office filed suit in Lake Superior Court last month seeking triple damages of $37,137 from Montalvo.