La Joya city commissioners fire police chief

LA JOYA — In a split vote, the La Joya City Commission voted Friday to fire Police Chief Adolfo Arriaga, effective immediately.

La Joya Mayor Isidro Casanova, Mayor Pro-Tem Roger Hernandez and City Commissioner Laura Mendiola Macias voted to approve City Attorney Robert Jackson’s recommendation to part ways with Arriaga following a nearly 45-minute-long discussion in executive session on the matter.

City commissioners Mary Salinas and Reynaldo Acosta voted against firing Arriaga.

Following the vote, Jackson said that they didn’t feel that Arriaga was “living up to (the) standards” of the city.

“Not one specific incident, just a plethora of incidents that accumulated, and we felt it was to the city’s best interest, the community’s best interest, to move on,” Jackson said.

Jackson declined to specify what those incidents were, commenting that those could be discussed if Arriaga wanted to contest his hiring through litigation.

“We’re just trying to move forward in a friendly way,” Jackson said. “If he wants to pursue his rights under the contract, then we have a right to defend ourselves.”

He said Arriaga would not be paid a severance.

While the commissioners were still in executive session discussing his fate, Arriaga said he didn’t believe the city commissioners could legally fire him because of his contract.

If they did, he said he had already acquired legal representation.

However, City Administrator Jacqueline Bazan said the city was not concerned.

“There is a contract but due to the issues related to the letting go of Chief Arriaga, which I am not at liberty to discuss, there (are) no worries regarding any constraints related to the contract,” she said.

No interim police chief was named but Bazan said that Sgt. Nancy Venecia was next in line to lead the police department until the city commissioners filled the chief’s position.