The City of South Bend is once again being criticized for the way it treats its workers.
First it was the alleged ‘forced’ resignation of Police Chief Darryl Boykins: Now a similar tale is being told by Bill Sniadecki.
Sniadecki is best known as an outspoken South Bend school board member, but last December, he was quietly fired from his day job with the City of South Bend.
“It’s a shock to me that I been a city employee for the last 22 years and I went from a laborer to middle management to upper management,” said Sniadecki, who was most recently a water works supervisor.
The reason given for the firing was the unauthorized use of a city vehicle, although in the process of fighting over unemployment benefits, it was found that the city couldn’t prove it, and that Sniadecki had been dismissed without just cause.
One administrative law judge wrote that the “Employer failed to establish that Claimant violated the policy and failed to establish that its policy was uniformly enforced.”
The ruling goes on to say, “The city’s policy gave employees no notice whatsoever about what would constitute the unauthorized use of a city vehicle.
“I’m in the middle of it, and I don’t know what to make of it,” said Sniadecki.
However, a four page tort claim filed on Sniadecki’s behalf alleges that his dismissal came in the name of nepotism, to make way for the hiring of a higher up’s relative. The claim also mentions a political motivation in that several supervisors stated they didn’t like the fact that Sniadecki was so visible in his position on the school board, and that he should “sit back, be quiet and keep a low profile.”
“You know, most people don’t even know where I work. I always separated that fact, I was always careful on making sure one position didn't outweigh the other,” Sniadecki said.
South Bend’s Interim City Attorney Aladean DeRose today issued a statement denying any suggestion that the city retaliated against Sniadecki for his school board activities.
The statement went on to say that, as far as the city was concerned, Sniadecki “resigned” and the facts surrounding that resignation are in dispute.
Sniadecki says he did resign at first, but was coerced to do so. Sniadecki claims he later rescinded his resignation.
The scenario surrounding former police chief Darryl Boykins was much the same, although Sniadecki parted ways in the waning days of the Luecke Administration, while Boykins did so under the Buttigieg Administration.
Sniadecki continues to apply for other city jobs and was notified today that he would receive an interview for a position within the building department next week.