Thursday will mark a milestone for the City of Pacific.
It will have a clerk for the first time since July.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, embattled Mayor Cy Sun brought forward candidates for three of seven vacant city positions that a Pierce County Superior Court judge ordered him to fill last month.
The council approved Sun’s hiring of interim employees for finance director and community services director, as well as his new choice for city clerk, who will start Thursday.
Sun sent a discharge letter to the previous city clerk, Jane Montgomery, in July. Among the reasons he listed for firing her was that she caused him to be arrested by locking her office and leaving the keys with police while she was on sick leave. That arrest occurred in July as Sun was trying to enter the secured office.
Montgomery since has filed for wrongful termination.
The hiring is good news, especially that of a new city clerk, City Council President Leanne Guier said.
“It’s a huge gap that we have had in the city by not having somebody in that office,” she said.
Other employees who have helped field public-records requests in the absence of a city clerk, such as finance and utility billing officials, will can focus on their own tasks, she said.
But the challenges to Pacific and its mayor are far from over.
Also on the agenda Monday night was discussion of a resolution asking for support from “anybody that can try to help us to maintain insurance,” Guier said.
The council is set to vote on the resolution Thursday, she said. If it passes, a letter will be sent to officials such as county leaders and Gov. Chris Gregoire, asking for help so Pacific can keep its liability insurance. The provider has said the insurance will end Dec. 31 if the situation in the city doesn’t stabilize.
If it loses insurance, Pacific’s next step would be to disincorporate.
The council is set to vote Nov. 13 on a resolution to start that process. Officials could retract the measure up until Dec. 28, Guier said.
“We’re hoping that we’re overreacting, but we have to have a Plan B in place,” she said. “Employees aren’t expected to show up with no liability insurance.”
Without the insurance, liability could transfer to city workers, including police, while on the job, Guier said.
The soonest the city could hold a special election to disincorporate is February, but officials need to start the process now to keep the potential window of being uninsured to a minimum, Guier said.
If the disincorporation resolution is passed, the city will need to file with the auditor’s office before Dec. 28 to hold the special election.
Meanwhile, another special election could be in the works.
A campaign to recall Sun is looking to gather signatures to hold an election to oust him, but the mayor appealed a King County Superior Court judge’s decision that would have let that happen. That delays signature-gathering, pending a state Supreme Court decision on the matter.
Pacific has about 6,500 residents and lies on the King-Pierce County line.
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268