“This is a scandal!” South Bend Council leaders secretly hire contractor to do job of elected official — She just billed the city double her contracted rate

Bianca Tirado, Former Chief Deputy Clerk for the City of South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has obtained the secret contract of a woman hired to do the job of the South Bend City Clerk, as well as one of her questionable invoices, charging the City of South Bend more than $11,500 for a month of work. The contract was never seen or approved by the entire Common Council. In fact, it appears council President Sharon McBride and Vice President Sheila Niezgodski are the only two who even knew about it. It also appears none of the other council members were aware of the invoicing either.

“This is a scandal.” Democrat Common Council Member, Henry Davis Jr., said to RNM. “Let’s not push it aside. The council deserves more. The city needs more. The council leadership allowed this to happen. All parties need to apologize and/or resign.”

“I have never seen the contract or any invoices (prior to you providing them).” 5th District Councilman, Eli Wax (R), said in an email. “To my knowledge, the contract was never voted on by the whole Council.”


The contract, which took effect in April of this year, is for former Chief Deputy Clerk Bianca Tirado. Sources tell RNM, she has been acting as the defacto City Clerk in her scope of duties. However, South Bend citizens are responsible for electing their City Clerk. The current Clerk is Dawn Jones.

The contract states, “The parties agree that the Consultant will be compensated at a monthly rate not to exceed $6,000 a month. It is understood that if performed hourly, the services to be provided would approximate $60 per hour for hours approved by the Common Council… Upon receipt of the Consultant’s monthly summary of services, the Common Council may request greater detail from the Consultant as it deems appropriate.”

Despite that, Tirado charged the city $11,520 for work done between 11/18/2022 and 12/20/2022. She claimed to work 8 hour days for 24 work days that month. And, most of the council members weren’t able to request greater detail about her work and billing because the invoices were never provided to them, not to mention nobody had seen the contract either. Subscribers can view the entire contract below.

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As stated above, Tirado recently billed the City of South Bend for nearly double the agreed to rate. Her invoice is also extremely questionable. She lists “emails” and “logistics” with little detail, claiming those took 8 hours. Every item listed also shows she worked an 8 hour day.

“With regard to the amount of the contract: $60 per hour does seem high, but I don’t know what market rate for similar services would be.” Council Member Wax told RNM. “I also don’t know why there is an invoice for greater than $6,000, if the contract states that monthly fee would not exceed $6,000. Finally, with regard to the invoices themselves, the lack of detail does raise some questions for me. I look forward to explanations from Council leadership regarding these questions.”

Subscribers can view the invoice below.

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Tirado left her job as the Chief Deputy Clerk for the City of South Bend in April to work as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the South Bend / Elkhart Regional Partnership, a non-profit that works to facilitate economic growth in Michiana. Sources tell RNM Tirado resigned from that position on November 4th to focus on running for City Clerk in 2023.

Multiple sources with the City of South Bend tell RNM that there is a major rift between local Democrats and current City Clerk, Dawn Jones. Sources say city leaders like Mayor James Mueller, Common Council President Sharon McBride and Vice President Sheila Niezgodski have been pushing for Tirado to run for City Clerk against Jones and that they may have colluded to create this position to help her pad her campaign coffers.

“(She was paid) $11,000 for sending emails! She’s making half of my salary in less than a month and she only did that because she was allowed to and told to by the council president.” Council Member Henry Davis Jr. said. “They’re funding her upcoming campaign with taxpayer dollars. That is fraud.”


RNM reached out to Tirado, City Clerk Dawn Jones, Mayor James Mueller and all of the members of the South Bend Common Council. Only Council Members Eli Wax and Henry Davis Jr. responded.

Sharon McBride sent an email to all of the elected officials asking them not to comment.

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