Local mayor stirs controversy by firing second police chief

GRANITE FALLS, Wash. -- Granite Falls Mayor Haroon Saleem vowed to shake things up when he took office, and his decision to fire a second police chief lived up to that promise.

But the decision wasn't popular with everyone, and a small but spirited group of protestors gathered outside of City Hall on Thursday to voice their displeasure.

"Saleem didn't even have the guts to come up to him and tell him to his face. He fired him by email for no reason, just got rid of him," said protestor Pete Childs.

Saleem terminated the contract of Dennis Taylor Thursday morning without cause and with little explanation.

"We do want to go in a different direction," Saleem said.

Saleem made waves in 2010 when he tried to fire the city's previous police chief, citing misconduct issues.

Taylor, the most recent man to lose his job, said his firing wasn't about performance. He said it boils down to Saleem's declining health and what he calls the irrational behavior that followed.

"We've got the end of his term, we've got his undiagnosed health issue, we've got his business going under," Taylor said.

Saleem said his health has been in question since he suffered a seizure about a year ago.

"But from that point forward, I started having seizures every two to three months," he said.

Despite his health problems, Saleem claims his head is clear, and to blame his illness in this situation is nonsense.

"At the end of the day, the decisions I have made, I am going to stand by them," he said.

Taylor said he's already had other job offers and hopes to serve the city again once the mayor's term expires at the end of the year.