Former South Bend employee files wrongful termination suit against city
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A former South Bend city employee claims he was let go, but was never given a good reason why.
With more than 20 years on the job, Bill Sniadecki is demanding answers, which may play out in court. He worked for the city water works department, but also sits on the South Bend Community School Corporation's board of trustees.
Sniadecki's notice of tort claim was filed seven months ago and his claim is now the city's eighth potential lawsuit South Bend is facing this year.
The board of trustees re-elections are around the corner and in the process this tort claim has come into question. Sniakdecki thinks that's because some city officials are trying to use it against him so he will not get re-elected.
For nearly 22 years, Sniadecki worked his way up the ladder doing various jobs for the city. He started as a laborer and later became the supervisor of special projects for the water works department.
"The city is my livelihood. That's what put the bread and butter on the table," said Sniadecki.
Sniadecki supported Mayor Pete Buttigieg and still does. He said he was looking forward to being apart of his administration, but he never got the chance. During the transitional period after the mayor was elected, something happened that shocked him and then turning his life upside down. "I was called into the office and they told me, well asked, me to resign or be terminated".
According to the tort claim, Sniadecki was given the option because his supervisors said he misused a city vehicle. He said that simple was not the case. As the only on-call supervisor, he was required to drive the vehicle outside his normal shift. "Up until now, I still really don't know what their basis is. It's nothing in my personnel record, nothing I've done. My personnel record is clean," said Sniadecki.
With no time to think, he said he was forced to resign, but then he rescinded that resignation only to be fired by his supervisor. "Totally unfair, an unjustified as you see with my unemployment case. You can't collect any kind of unemployment if you have been terminated or resigned".
Yet, Sniadecki did get his jobless benefits after he took it to court and a judge ruled in his favor -- saying he was fired without just cause. The city challenged that ruling and during another hearing, a panel of judges again ruled in his favor.
Sniadecki's attorney is still in negotiations with the city, and he is not sure where his case stands at this time. All he knows is that he just wants his job back.