Perhaps harmony will return to the city of Pacific one day — but not yet.
On Friday, Mayor Cy Sun placed Police Chief John Calkins and Lieutenant Edwin Massey on paid administrative leave. In another city, that might be a big deal. In Pacific, it’s routine.
Sun tried to fire Calkins last summer. Calkins fought the decision and ultimately won reinstatement. Before that, two other department members, including Massey, served briefly as chief. Sun fired Massey, who went back to being a lieutenant. The other officer resigned as acting chief.
Sun fired a number of other city employees along the way, got himself arrested by his own police force last year, tried to fire those officers, failed, and found himself battling a citizen-driven recall campaign.
The city barely avoided the loss of municipal insurance last year. City council members briefly considered dissolving the government or annexing to neighboring Auburn.
The recall petition, approved by a King County Superior Court judge and appealed to the state Supreme Court, still awaits a decision. The next step is a conference among the justices scheduled for April 4.
Meanwhile, Sun keeps going. The circumstances surrounding his decision to place Calkins and Massey on leave are unclear. In a brief, emailed statement, Sun said only that the two men were on leave pending an investigation of allegations of harassment and intimidation.
Sources familiar with Pacific’s roiling politics said the investigation is tied to another employee, also recently placed on leave by Sun, but details are murky.
Sun reportedly asked the King County Sheriff’s Office to step in and provide police service. The request was refused, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindi West.
Sun also asked sheriff’s deputies to accompany him as he served the leave notices on Calkins and Massey. Again, the Sheriff’s Office declined, West said.Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486 sean.robinson@ thenewstribune.com