A Pierce County Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered Pacific Mayor Cy Sun to fill vacant or temporarily filled positions in the city and to comply with state laws regarding the destruction of public records.
Sun is in the process of hiring for those seven spots, his attorney, Tyler Firkins, said Tuesday. The positions include a city clerk and public works/community development director.
The King County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating allegations that Sun destroyed public records, city attorney Kenyon Luce said.
Judge Ronald Culpepper “basically said, ‘don’t destroy public records and then hire these positions or start the ball rolling,’” Firkins said.
A petition for a writ of mandate filed by Luce this month also asked that Sun be ordered to hire a new head of the police force. However, that slot was filled the next week when the city’s Civil Service Commission reinstated John Calkins, the director Sun had fired.
Luce has said the employees, who were fired or resigned under Sun’s tenure, are critical to keeping the city running.
“You take eight administrators from any organization, let alone a city, and its operations stop,” Luce said Tuesday.
Pacific, which has about 6,500 residents, has about 20 employees when fully staffed.
Firkins said the mayor’s staffing decisions were aimed at cutting costs. When Sun placed Calkins on leave before firing him, however, he cited Calkins having raised his voice during a City Council workshop in January.
“Mayor Sun was trying to perpetuate a leaner government, trying not to have full-time heads of departments where a part-time employee would do,” Firkins said.
Sun needs to report to the court about his progress filling the positions in 30 days, or he could face sanctions, Luce said.
Firkins said he and his client haven’t decided whether they’ll appeal the decision on procedural grounds.
The order is one of several challenges Sun has faced since being elected in December by 64 votes in a write-in campaign.
He was arrested in July trying to enter the former city clerk’s office, and residents have launched a recall campaign.
Pacific lies on the King-Pierce County line east of Interstate 5.