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Former library director facing theft charges

Former library director facing theft charges

http://www.northjersey.com/news/121686493_Librarian_facing_theft_charges_.html

May 14, 2011

The former director of the Haledon Free Public Library was arrested last month on charges of official misconduct and theft for purchases she allegedly paid with library funds, police said.

Judith Erk of Haledon was arrested at her Belmont Avenue home on April 29 following “an extensive investigation into online purchases billed to and paid through library funds” conducted by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Public Integrity Unit, and the North Haledon Police Department.

Authorities also executed a search warrant of Erk’s home, stating that evidence related to the case was recovered from the premises, police said. Various items were seized from the residence including electronics, kitchen appliances, jewelry and a faux fireplace.

Earlier this year, Erk was removed from the directorship of the Haledon Free Public Library and replaced with interim director, Claire Houghdon-Kiel. Erk is currently an assistant librarian at Manchester Regional High School.

Erk was charged with one count of official misconduct and theft by deception in excess of $75,000 in HaledonMunicipal Court. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison. Bail was set at $50,000 with no 10-percent option. She later posted bail.

The matter was later transferred from Haledon Municipal Court to Passaic County Superior Court.

Erk was at the center of another controversy in March 2010 when the library board voted to increase her salary by approximately $11,000 – from $57,749 to $68,900 – at a meeting that violated the Open Public Meetings Law. The board provided no public notice of the meeting prior to the salary bump.

Following criticism of the action by Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone, the board later reduced the increase to approximately $6,000 for a total of $63,900.

E-mail: zaremba@northjersey.com

The former director of the Haledon Free Public Library was arrested last month on charges of official misconduct and theft for purchases she allegedly paid with library funds, police said. 

Judith Erk of Haledon was arrested at her Belmont Avenue home on April 29 following “an extensive investigation into online purchases billed to and paid through library funds” conducted by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Public Integrity Unit, and the North Haledon Police Department.

Authorities also executed a search warrant of Erk’s home, stating that evidence related to the case was recovered from the premises, police said. Various items were seized from the residence including electronics, kitchen appliances, jewelry and a faux fireplace.

Earlier this year, Erk was removed from the directorship of the Haledon Free Public Library and replaced with interim director, Claire Houghdon-Kiel. Erk is currently an assistant librarian at Manchester Regional High School.

Erk was charged with one count of official misconduct and theft by deception in excess of $75,000 in Haledon Municipal Court. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison. Bail was set at $50,000 with no 10-percent option. She later posted bail.

The matter was later transferred from Haledon Municipal Court to Passaic County Superior Court.

Erk was at the center of another controversy in March 2010 when the library board voted to increase her salary by approximately $11,000 – from $57,749 to $68,900 – at a meeting that violated the Open Public Meetings Law. The board provided no public notice of the meeting prior to the salary bump.

Following criticism of the action by Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone, the board later reduced the increase to approximately $6,000 for a total of $63,900.

E-mail: zaremba@northjersey.com

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Former library director facing theft charges.

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