Wapato Mayor Fires Police Chief, But Likely Won’t Be Mayor Much Longer

Former Wapato mayor and city administrator Juan Orozco, left, was appointed to the newly created position of city administrator by new mayor Dora Alvarez-Voa, drawing scrutiny and a state investigation. Courtesy KAPP-KVEW
Former Wapato mayor and city administrator Juan Orozco, left, was appointed to the newly created position of city administrator by new mayor Dora Alvarez-Voa last year, drawing scrutiny and a state investigation. Courtesy KAPP-KVEW

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The city administrator in the Yakima Valley town of Wapato stepped down last month after a lawsuit from the state Attorney General’s office alleged he used his influence to enrich himself. And now other city leaders are being pushed out.

Mayor Dora Alvarez-Roa fired the city’s police chief without cause this week. Dominic Rizzi told the Yakima Herald-Republic Alvarez-Roa didn’t give him a reason for being fired, and that the mayor simply told him his services were no longer needed. 

Rizzi became Wapato’s police chief six months ago. That was after he was fired as head of the Yakima Police after a poor performance review. At a city council meeting Wednesday, Mayor Alvarez-Roa said Rizzi was not present enough in the Wapato community, according to the Herald-Republic. 

The mayor could not be reached for comment Friday by NWPB.

But the mayor herself may soon lose her position. Alvarez-Roa failed to get enough votes in the recent primary to advance to the November election, according to preliminary results. She was running for mayor this year after being appointed by former mayor Juan Orozco when he stepped down and took the newly-created position of city administrator, making $95,000 dollars per year. 

Orozco left that position after amid controversy and push-back from residents, and an investigation by the offices of the Washington State Auditor and Attorney General.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Wapato city council also issued a unanimous vote of no confidence in Mayor Alvarez-Roa.

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