Pacific mayor behind firings faces recall effort
Leadership is a discredited word in Pacific these days.
Say it, and most residents scoff or laugh.
Two other words around town – the mayor’s name, Cy Sun – make them cringe and grimace.
But the embattled mayor’s attempt to fire more than half of the city’s employees has prompted some locals to step up and be their own leaders.
They’re heading the Committee to Recall Cy Sun. The group – armed with signs, civic code numbers and determination – picketed in front of City Hall on Friday. They decried how Sun has upended peace in the normally quiet town that straddles Pierce and King counties.
“He’s come and devastated the town,” said Tracey Apata, who coordinates the recall committee. “We have to step up and do something as citizens. We need to do whatever we need to do to stop this madness and save the city.”
Friday concluded another chapter of “madness,” with four of the city’s nine police officers appearing at hearings to argue against termination notices Sun sent them this week. The police department confirmed the four were the same officers who arrested Sun on July 19 for allegedly trying to break into the city clerk’s locked office to destroy documents.
Sun fired City Clerk Jane Montgomery, who filed a wrongful termination claim against the city Thursday.
The mayor did not open the door of a City Hall room so Montgomery could attend her hearing Thursday. Montgomery’s attorney said they saw him leave out the back door and drive off.
On Friday, Sun scheduled hearings for each of the four officers. A police union representative said the mayor banged a gavel and concluded each hearing as soon as the representative started to speak.
City Attorney Ken Luce told the four officers to return to work despite the termination notices.
Critics of the mayor say the notices were issued illegally. They say only the police chief has the authority to issue termination notices to officers. One complication is Sun fired the police chief several weeks ago.
“You can’t lead by intimidation. You have to lead by inspiration,” said City Councilman Gary Hulsey, who joined picketers Friday to support the officers.
Council members have been instructed not to speak about the controversy, but Hulsey stood among two dozen or so protesters as a member of Pacific’s public safety committee. He called Sun’s actions detrimental to the city’s well-being.
“There’s no leadership in the city,” Hulsey said. “He has complete disregard for policy and laws and he’s going to do things his way.”
Sun has fired at least 12 of the city’s 20 or so staff members. The City Council, the city attorney and multiple residents have confronted Sun, but their pleas appear to have no effect.
He has declined to comment on what’s going on in his city.
His election campaign last year promised to clean up corruption, though he’s never detailed what wrongdoing was occurring. He won a write-in campaign by 64 votes.
“He feels he’s above and beyond the law,” resident Don Thomson said. “He’s not good for our health.”