Leanne Guier is the new mayor of Pacific, but the 17-year resident isn’t new to the city or to leading it.
She estimates she worked 20 to 30 hours a week as City Council president during the past year. That’s in addition to her full-time day job as the business development specialist for Plumbers & Pipefitters United Association Local 32.
After residents of the 6,800-person town on the Pierce-King county line recalled embattled Mayor Cy Sun earlier this month, Guier expressed interest in the job and the council appointed her July 11.
While she’s technically still in the running for Pacific Council Position No. 4, she says she would decline the seat, if elected, to fulfill her mayoral duties.
She’s overseen council meetings where Sun stormed out, and helped the city find a new insurer when its old provider made good on its threat to stop coverage if Pacific didn’t stabilize. She also saw the impact of Sun firing various city employees.
Now, she says her focus is picking up the pieces after the city’s struggles over the past year and helping it recover.
Q: How have the first few weeks been?
A: Crazy busy. Mostly just kind of settling in and identifying what all the needs are. Trying to move forward cautiously and thoughtfully.
Q: What’s your main priority for Pacific right now?
A: The first thing I did, I hired two police officers we needed. The citizens deserve the protection. The Police Department is good to go.
We need somebody who can really dive into the financial aspects (of the city). A temporary interim finance director.
I’m looking through applications for a city clerk, hoping to fill that position by the end of August, if not sooner. We did post for an activities coordinator/bus driver for the senior center.
Q: What do you see as your biggest challenge going forward?
A: Getting all the right people in the right places. Getting key positions filled.
Q: Do you have a clearer idea of the city’s budget situation? You said a few weeks ago it wasn’t clear where Pacific’s finances stood, because you hadn’t been getting reports from the mayor’s office.
A: No, but I’m thinking (we will) real soon.
Q: What are your plans for the city after you lay the groundwork you just mentioned?
A: I’d like to see a park next to the senior center. There are street projects I’d like to see happen. Working on our communication, getting Channel 21 (the city’s TV station) up and running again.
Q: What response have you gotten from Pacific residents about your appointment as mayor?
A: I’m getting a lot of positive feedback, and what I’m hearing is: “OK, maybe now we can stay out of the media and move forward.” Not a lot of negative. Just a big sigh of relief.
Q: What do you think people who have been seeing media coverage of Pacific during the past year should know?
A: That we’re a great little community that takes care of each other. This is a very proud community and very family-oriented. We’re a resilient community. We’re in recovery mode, and we will get there.
Q: Have you seen your predecessor since you were appointed?
A: No, I have not. I drove by his house and saw his garage door open. His wife was gardening outside. I asked if he was home, and she said no. I tried to reach out to say hi and work together.
Q: You said you’re posting office hours and hosting a forum for residents, starting today. Is that because you didn’t feel the former mayor was accessible enough to the community?
A: I think it’s just really important to be very, very transparent and approachable.
Q: Why have you put in the extra hours and stayed a part of city leadership through Pacific’s recent struggles, and why did you decide to become mayor?
A: My love of this community. I’m willing to step up and do it. My daughter is grown; I don’t have a husband at home requiring my time. My employer has been very understanding. I’m just available right now.
I love this city.Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268