June 1, 2010 |

Granite Falls Mayor being investigated or maybe not

It looked as though Granite Falls has more investigations going on than first thought when a letter dated March 11 came to light.

The letter was signed by Police Chief Tony Domish and the full-time police officers in the Granite Falls Police Department, asking for an investigation of Mayor Haroon Saleem by the Granite Falls Civil Service Board.

The police officers allege that Saleem may have released the name of a reserve police officer working undercover inside the Timberline Café, Saleem’s business.

Other allegations include Saleem threatening to fire police officers.

At a March 17, city council meeting, Chief Domish declared at the public meeting that Saleem had told one of his officers that Saleem was going to fire the chief.

However, the officer was in the council meeting and when asked directly whether the mayor had said that, the officer stated that Saleem had not said that to him.

The letter to the Civil Service Board was dated March 11, less than a week before the city council meeting.

On April 23, Domish was put on paid administrative leave by Saleem pending an investigation by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office.

The city’s attorney sent a statement saying, “At the written request of the city, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal affairs investigation concerning certain alleged actions and inactions of Chief Domish only. An internal affairs investigation is not a criminal investigation.”

However, another letter, dated March 28, has come to light in the last two weeks. This letter is signed by Civil Service Board member Bob Littlejohn and states that, “After discussion with the city attorney and other legal and employment sources, it is evident that the complaint submitted (by Granite Falls police) does not meet the requirements necessary for investigation by the Civil Service Board.”

The letter was said to have been dropped in the mail slot at City Hall on Sunday, March 28. Saleem said he nor anyone else at the city had ever seen the letter and that City staff always picks up the contents dropped in the mail slot and stamps a date on it.

“I believe that this letter was not generated on March 28, and I also don’t believe that the letter was generated by Bob Littlejohn. Every letter he has sent us has always been cc’d to the city attorney and/or the city council,” Granite Falls Mayor Haroon Saleem said. “This letter was addressed to Chief Domish and was only cc’d to me, not the city attorney or the council members. The way I’m looking at is that it is a little like slander. Someone wanted to make it look like I was being investigated.”

The three person Board is headed by board chairman Bob Littlejohn. It also includes Scott Adams, councilmember Elizabeth Adams’ husband and Paul Lutz, former mayoral candidate who ran against Saleem in the primary election last August.

However, this investigation is out of the realm of their authority.

“The Civil Service Board doesn’t really have the authority to investigate the Mayor or others who are hold office,” Saleem said.

The board was appointed last December by then Mayor Lyle Romack who lost the election to Saleem in November. The seats had been unfilled for several years, even though it is mandated by the state to have such a board whose responsibility it is to review disciplinary decisions which involve civil servants.

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