Pacific Mayor Cy Sun told two Seattle television stations Wednesday that he has asked former University of California-Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza, who retired after campus police used pepper spray on protesters, to be the interim head of the Pacific police force.
Sun did not return News Tribune calls Tuesday, and the police spokeswoman, city attorney and person who answered the phone for the police department all said that the mayor had told them not to speak to the media.
Sun told KING 5 News and KOMO 4 News that he offered Spicuzza the job, and Spicuzza confirmed to KING that she accepted the position, though she must pass tests required by the state to lead the department.
Spicuzza left UC Davis after she was suspended during an internal affairs investigation into the campus police department’s use of pepper spray on Occupy protesters in November 2011.
Spicuzza said in a statement announcing her retirement: “As the university does not want this incident to be its defining moment, nor do I wish for it to be mine, I believe in order to start the healing process, this chapter of my life must be closed.”
Sun told KING that he knew Spicuzza’s history, and hired her for her experience and expertise.
The mayor said last month that he had put Police Chief John Calkins and Lt. Edwin Massey on paid administrative leave March 22, pending an investigation of allegations of harassment and intimidation, but he did not elaborate.
Sun tried to fire Calkins last summer, and the chief fought the decision and was reinstated by Pacific’s civil service commission.
Sun was arrested by Pacific police while trying to enter the city clerk’s office in July. He was never charged with a crime for doing so.
Sun fired the clerk, who since has settled a wrongful-termination claim with the city for $175,000. Sun also fired a second city clerk in February who he said “just didn’t work out” – an employee he hired after a Pierce County Superior Court judge ordered him to replace seven city employees who left or were fired under Sun’s tenure.
Members of a campaign to oust Sun expect a Supreme Court decision today or Friday as to whether they can collect signatures for a special election to recall the mayor.
Sun appealed a King County Superior Court ruling that would have allowed the campaign to move forward, which sent the matter to the higher court.
If the decision is in the recall committee’s favor: “We will be out canvassing for signatures right away,” campaign member and Pacific restaurant owner Tracey Apata said Wednesday. “The plan is to turn them in Monday morning to the elections office.”
Information from the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee is included in this report.
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268