UPDATE: Lawyer Says Village Wrong To Remove Department Head
An attorney for Seth Knobel, who was removed from his post as Niles Director of Family Services by Mayor Robert Callero, said the removal was unjustified and smacks of politics.
On Wednesday, Edward W. Feldman, an attorney for Seth Knobel, who was removed as the Village of Niles' Director of Family Services by Mayor Robert Callero, made the following statement:
"Unfortunately, sometimes truth and basic fairness become casualties to politics. Mr. Knobel devoted 12 years of faithful service to the Village of Niles. It is slanderous to suggest that he engaged in any “questionable business practices” or that his practice was to collect fees from Village employees for his services.
"In fact, the Village was aware of and agreed to his practices, which were legitimate. Moreover, last week the Village admitted that the Mayor’s decision to part ways with Mr. Knobel “is not based on the outcome of our investigation of the underlying facts involved.” The so-called “investigation” was bogus and unfair. The Village never even spoke with Mr. Knobel before taking action. This is no way to treat a dedicated public servant."
Edward W. Feldman
In a Tuesday special meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes, the Niles Village Board let stand Mayor Robert Callero's removal of a department head and appointed an acting director.
Callero began the meeting by saying he had removed Seth Knobel as director of Niles Family Services "because of questionable business practices."
Under the Niles code, village employees' spouses and families are to receive services from Niles Family Services at no charge, but that Knobel charged them, Callero said.
Patch.com placed a call to Knobel's attorney Tuesday evening and will update this story if and when he responds.
Trustee Chris Hanusiak asked if Knobel was doing this on government property, and Callero replied, "It's under investigation."
Callero asked if any of the trustees intended to make a motion to override his action; no one did. Trustee Louella Preston was not present.
Callero next made a motion to appoint Kelly Mickle, director of Senior Services, as acting director of Family Services, and the board voted unanimously to approve.
When asked after the meeting for additional information, Callero declined to make a statement, saying the matter was under investigation.