City of Yakima
Subject: City Appeal of Arbitrator's Decision
Contact: City Manager Dick Zais - 575-6092
Community Relations Manager Randy Beehler - 901-1142
Release Date: Thursday, February 1st, 2007
City Appeals Arbitrator's Decision In Police Officer Firing
The City of Yakima has appealed an arbitrator's decision requiring former Yakima Police
Officer Mike Rummel, who was fired in 2005, to be reinstated. The appeal, filed in Yakima
County Superior Court, is based on the City's belief that arbitrator Alan Krebs' decision is
"The arbitrator's decision overlooks important facts in this case," said City Manager Dick Zais.
"Mike Rummel violated a Last Chance Agreement with the City which led to my decision to fire
him. His behavior since then has resulted in a Protective Order being issued which prevents
him from coming within 500 feet of the police building," said Zais. "There are several reasons
to question returning Mike Rummel to duty as a police officer and the arbitrator did not take
them into account in reaching his decision."
In its appeal, the City also says Krebs exceeded his authority by "modifying" the Last Chance
Agreement when he determined that Rummel would have had to willfully or deliberately violate
the agreement in order to justify his termination. The City maintains that any violation of the
Last Chance Agreement was justification for firing Rummel. The agreement does not require
that a violation be willful or deliberate.
In 2004, Rummel was disciplined after being charged with DUI, the result of what Rummel said
was a night of "binge drinking." He eventually pled to reckless driving, received a deferred jail
sentence, one year probation, and was ordered to pay a fine. Although the incident could
have led to Rummel being fired, Zais offered him a Last Chance Agreement which, if Rummel
violated within the next 3 years, would result in his being terminated.
Zais eventually fired Rummel in May of 2005 due to Rummel having violated the agreement
two times; once when he disobeyed an order from a superior officer by calling one of the City's
911 calltakers while she was on duty, and again when he inappropriately used his badge in
order to be let into a local bar while off duty.
The 911 calltaker, who was previously involved in a relationship with Rummel, now has a
Protective Order against him. She has alleged that Rummel has seriously assaulted her both
physically (including choking) and verbally on several occasions. Rummel is alleged to have
pointed a gun at the woman multiple times and threatened to kill her. An original Restraining
Order was granted in June of 2005. The Protective Order was issued in December of 2005,
and was extended in December of 2006 through December of this year. The woman has
submitted sworn statements that even though the order was in place, Rummel has violated it
by trying to contact her.
The woman works in the City's emergency 911 dispatch center, located in the same building
as the police headquarters. Since the Order of Protection prohibits Rummel from coming
within 500 feet of where the woman works, Zais questions how it would be possible for him for
to serve as a police officer. Additionally, the City feels that the facts presented in the
Protective Order represent very serious threats to the personal safety of the City's 911
The City's appeal says that if Rummel were reinstated, the City would be in the untenable
position of having to arrest him when he reported to the police building for having violated the
Order of Protection, or be liable for any damages that the 911 calltaker may suffer for not
enforcing the order.
"Mike Rummel's behavior both before and after his firing does not warrant the community's
trust," said Zais. "The City should not be forced to return Mike Rummel to duty due to an
arbitrator's decision that was based on, at best, incomplete information and inadequate
analysis. The arbitrator's decision completely ignores the facts cited in the Order of Protection
granted to the City's 911 calltaker. "