Caseyville keeps Alvarez on paid leave

News-DemocratApril 30, 2014 

Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez and Mayor Len Black went at it Feb. 19 during the Village Board meeting, shouting over operation of the department, making local hires and whether talk radio personality Bob Romanik really runs the police department. At one point a police sergeant and several others separated Alvarez from the mayor.


— Four Caseyville Village Board members voted unanimously to keep their police chief on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal charges filed against him last week.

Jose Alvarez, 61, of Smithton, was charged Thursday by special prosecutor David Rands with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and battery.

The charges against Alvarez were the result of an investigation by Rands that included interviews with village trustees and a videotape of Alvarez's rant at the Village Board's Feb. 19 meeting. Alvarez went up to the trustees bench, got into Mayor Leonard Black's face and accused him of letting Bob Romanik, a convicted felon and metro-east radio talk show host, run the police department and the village of Caseyville, which Black denied. The charges also allege Alvarez struck Caseyville Police Sgt. Frank Moore in the chest with his own chest during the meeting.

Alvarez, who was suspended with pay last week, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Scott Miller was named interim chief after Alvarez was charged.

Village Attorney John Gilbert wrote Alvarez a letter saying the board voted Monday night to keep him on paid administrative leave.

Trustees Brenda Williams, G.W. Scott, Kerry Davis and Walter "Wally" Abernathy were at the special meeting and voted in favor of placing Alvarez on administrative leave. Trustees Rick Casey Jr. and Ron Tamburello were not at the meeting.

Alvarez is not allowed to be present at the police department without authorization from the Village Board, according to Gilbert's letter.

Black confirmed that the letter was taken to Alvarez's residence by a police officer and another copy of the letter was sent certified through the U.S. Postal Service. Black would not comment on the latest situation involving Alvarez.

Village Board members could not be reached for comment.

Alvarez was hired in September. Black fired Alvarez on Feb. 12. But, the Village Board unanimously voted to bring him back during the Feb. 19 meeting.

Rands handled the case because Alvarez previously worked for the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

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