The Goldendale Sentinel -

 
 

By Sverre Bakke
Gorge News Report 

White Salmon police chief under

 


The City of White Salmon placed Bingen-White Salmon Police Chief Tony Domish on paid administrative leave on May 3 pending the outcomes of two separate investigations: one in Snohomish County where Domish used to work and the other in White Salmon.

City Administrator Patrick Munyan Jr. is serving as acting supervisor of the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department in the interim. Munyan met with BWSPD officers on May 3 and appointed Officer Steve Shields as acting sergeant to help with day-to-day management of the department.

Domish, a Seattle native who’d previously held police chief positions in Tieton in Yakima County and Granite Falls in Snohomish County, became police chief in White Salmon last June after serving as a contracted law enforcement and public safety consultant during the six months leading up to his appointment by Mayor David Poucher.

Munyan said he has been consulting with Klickitat County Prosecuting Attorney Lori Hoctor and the Sheriff’s Office about process and plans to have an outside agency perform an audit of Domish’s administration of the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department.

“I can’t go in to detail because it’s a personnel matter, but we’ve identified a number of issues that are of concern to us. We want someone to come in and look at the overall administrative operations of the department,” Munyan said.

Poucher told The White Salmon Enterprise on May 8 a team of investigators from Pratham and Associates—two retired police chiefs and one retired state auditor—planned to begin a two- to three-day audit of the department on May 9.

“The investigation is to see if what is alleged in Granite Falls is happening here [in White Salmon and Bingen],” Poucher said. “We need to reassure the citizens that everything is fine and if not, we need to find out what that is and correct it.”

In Snohomish County, investigators from the Marysville Police Department filed an affidavit with Snohomish County prosecutors two weeks ago that suggests possible malfeasance on the part of Domish and his department between 2006 and 2010, when Domish was police chief in Granite Falls. At issue is how money, property and evidence from drug investigations was obtained, handled, and recorded.

Munyan said the affidavit outlining “potential criminal activity” by Domish and/or employees of the Granite Falls department is a cause of concern for local administrators.

“We’ll have to wait see what’s in the report from Pratham and Associates,” Poucher said. I don’t want to pre-judge the report. We’re going to move with deliberation but not until all the facts are in.”

Noted Munyan, “Whether what they did up there was criminal or not, it shows a lack of oversight and judgment on Tony’s part.”

Domish denied the allegations of wrongdoing made by the Marysville Police Department in a May 1 interview with The Everett Herald. He told a reporter, “I knew this [investigation] was happening, I just didn’t know it’d go this far.”

Marysville detectives, who began investigating last November at the behest of the current Granite Falls administration, allege in their affidavit (obtained by The Herald under state public record laws) that they found evidence to support two felony theft and misappropriation charges, and more than a dozen counts of possible misdemeanor official misconduct.

Domish left Granite Falls in 2010 after accepting a severance package of more than $78,000. The settlement came about after the mayor of Granite Falls had placed Domish on paid administrative leave because Domish had become unmanageable, according to media reports from that period. The Herald reported that as part of that settlement, Granite Falls agreed to drop an internal investigation of Domish, who in turn agreed not sue the city.

Said Domish to The Herald, “I want to be very clear that I didn’t take the settlement offer because of any concerns I had with the investigation. The bottom line is, I didn’t want to work for (the mayor of Granite Falls) and it was a very, very difficult decision to make.”

 

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