South Bend Tribune
SOUTH BEND - The firefighting career of Jordan Jostes is over with the city of South Bend, but exactly how it ended is not clear.
What is known is that Wednesday morning, during the Board of Public Safety meeting, the board's members voted unanimously to end Jostes' employment by the city.
Board member Patrick Cottrell made the motion that the board give Jostes until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to resign from the department, or he would be automatically terminated.
But Jostes did not attend the meeting to hear the board's decision and neither did anyone from the firefighters union.
At a hearing two weeks ago, Jostes and the union pushed back against an allegation by Chief Howard Buchanon that the firefighter had violated department rules against weapons by bringing a Bowie knife to work and keeping it under his pillow.
Jostes had claimed the knife was a tool, and union president Ken Marks testified that most of the department's firefighters kept a knife with them while at work.
But Buchanon told the board he pushed for Jostes' termination because the firefighter had already had two suspensions in the past year, with the knife incident being his third.
Although safety board members voted in open session to terminate Jostes, they did not discuss their reasons for giving him the option of resigning.
But after the meeting, Todd Skwarcan, vice president of the firefighters union, said he, Jostes and union lawyer Chip Lewis met with Assistant City Attorney Tom Bodnar the day before and that Jostes had already resigned at that meeting as part of an agreement brokered by the union.
But the board apparently rejected that agreement and made the vote for Jostes to resign or be terminated, a move Skwarcan called "unbelievable."
Bodnar did not return a late Wednesday phone call, and it's not clear if Jostes resigned or was terminated.
Regardless of how he left the department, Jostes' future is already known.
At his earlier hearing, Jostes told the board he had joined the Marines and was leaving for boot camp in October, for what he said was the start of a four-year commitment.
Copyright 2010 South Bend Tribune Corporation
All Rights Reserved
September 16, 2010