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Wapato mayor changing city administration during first month in office

Wapato mayor changing city administration during first month in office

WAPATO, Wash. - Wapato mayor Juan Orozco was sworn into office just four weeks ago.

In those few short weeks, he hired a new city attorney, fired the police chief and did not renew the public works director's contract.

Orozco said he is working to fill those vacant positions and wants to hire within.

"Too many people coming from outside our community and running the show here," he said. "We need to send a strong message to our community that we have competent and qualified people here and a strong message to the workforce that you can become a boss if you work here, there is room for upward mobility in this city."

But Orozco said another position became vacant last week when city clerk and treasurer Sue Pearson was put on paid administrative leave because she is under investigation.

RELATED: City of Wapato treasurer placed on paid leave

Local business woman Robin Cordova was appointed to fill that position at last night's city council meeting.

With all this change in just one short month, many living in Wapato said they are glad to see Orozco taking action, while others think it's too much at once.

One Wapato resident said he is not happy with all the firing and that the city is without a police chief.

While one local woman said she is glad to see the city taking action and said it may be too early to be making judgements.

In his one-month in office, Orozco also made changes to the local cemetery which was at the top of his priority list when running for mayor.

Orozco said the city had to close the cemetery for a few days to tackle the rodent problem.

"You have to set the tone, that we're going to provide services for our community," Orozco said. "The taxpayers are expecting that of us."

Now he is working on re-setting the headstones throughout the cemetery and putting in benches.

Orozco said next on his agenda is to work on lowering Wapato's water rates.

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