Selah mayor speaks about firings and a vision for the city - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Selah mayor speaks about firings and a vision for the city

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SELAH, Wash- The shake-up in Selah continues.  The new mayor continues to ruffle feathers as he moves to fire another high-ranking city employee.  John Gawlik sees his recent decisions as an effort to move beyond the status quo, making Selah more than just a nice place to live but also a destination.

"I'm not the two-headed monster that everybody says I am", says Gawlik.

The last four weeks have been demanding for new Selah mayor John Gawlik.  Since taking office last month he's spent his time meeting with department heads.

"I feel like King Solomon having to share the baby with the different groups", he says with a laugh.

He's also been getting to understand the complexities of his new position, and making some tough and at times unpopular decisions.

"53 percent of the voting public put me in this chair to do the job but it seems like during the last four weeks the only ones I've talked to are the 46 percent that didn't want me", Gawlik joked.

The most high profile decisions involved the firing of the current police chief and the city supervisor, decisions that have been unpopular with more than just the two men losing their jobs. Gawlik says it wasn't a question of job performance.

"The management styles, operation styles were different", he said.

The two men are on administrative leave while they wait for pre-termination hearings, which are largely just a formality.

In their place Gawlik says he'd like to hire progressive individuals who are on board with his vision of Selah as a tourist destination. The Selah chamber is currently discussing new themes for the revitalization of the downtown area.

"We got something to sell to the public, we really do, and I want to do my part to make it better than that", he says. 

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