Bellevue City Council approves settlement with city employee

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) - The Bellevue City Council approved a $125,000 settlement to a city employee during Monday night's meeting.

The City will pay the sum to Laurie Synowiecki, a former police officer and now manager of the Office of Professional Standards. Synowiecki will leave her post, but as part of the settlement, will leave with a positive job reference and three months of paid health insurance. 

The settlement comes after Synowiecki brought forth allegations, "that while employed by the City, she has been unlawfully harassed and subjected to a hostile work environment." She sent a memo to the media on Feb. 22 stating she believed the Bellevue Police Officer's Association (BPOA) had sent defamatory information about her to the media. 

During Monday's packed meeting, mostly of Bellevue police officers, wives of officers spoke on behalf of their husbands saying Synowiecki's harassment claims were false, and instead said BPOA questioned her handling of an internal investigation conducted by Synowiecki that resulted in the temporary firing of Sgt. Dontrell Ducker, a BPOA member. 

Ducker's wife Molly said her husband's temporary firing has taken a toll on him "every single day for the past year and a half." 

Additionally, Bellevue city councilman Pat Shannon said there is more to the story. 

"There are eight pending legal actions between the police department and the City of Bellevue," he said. "And this is going to continue costing the city money and if the standard is now that we're going to pay $125,000 to settle each of these claims, then that's going to cost $1 million dollars." 

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