A King County judge on Tuesday signaled that the recall effort to oust City of Pacific Mayor Cy Sun can proceed, pending a redrafting of the proposed ballot language.
Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen ordered attorneys for the mayor and the recall group to work together on drafting new language for the ballot (see below). Inveen also threw out most the charges leveled at Sun in the recall petition, allowing just two to stand: The complaint that Sun failed to fill essential city positions, and his order to have police act as his personal guard to investigate matters outside their jurisdiction.
Sun has 16 days to appeal Inveen's decision to let the recall effort proceed. Recall supporters are not able to collect signatures until the end of that period. Petitioners will then have 180 days to collect about 450 signatures, but say they are confident it will only take a couple days to get it done.
Meanwhile, another development Tuesday revealed how unstable the situation is in the small town. The city attorney recommended that city leaders prepare for disincorporation and bankruptcy, as a contingency plan.
In a letter obtained by KING 5, city attorney Kenyon Luce advised the mayor and the city council that disincorporation would “minimize and possibly avoid personal liability to city employees.” Luce said bankruptcy might be necessary because “the total amount of claims [against the city] will likely exceed the limits of the City’s insurance policy.”
Luce's letter refers to potential claims filed by employees fired by Cy Sun.
Elected in a write-in campaign last year, Cy Sun has angered many Pacific residents and city employees for what they characterize as erratic and arbritray behavior. Sun has fired many top city officials, and police were called to the city clerk's office in the summer to stop Sun from trying to remove personnel files.
Sun is under a court order to fill empty city positions. Last week, the King County Sheriff's Office said it would not recommend criminal charges after it concluded its investigation into Sun's attempt to remove the personnal files.
Synopsis of the ballot language approved on Oct. 9:
The charges made by King County registered voter Donald Thompson against Cy Sun, Mayor of the City of Pacific, allege Mayor Sun committed misfeasance in office, malfeasance in office and/or violated his oath of office by:
1) Directing Pacific police department officers to operate as his personal police force in conducting a criminal investigation into the identity of those responsible for distributing negative information and allegations about him concerning his Echo, Oregon property, which is outside of their jurisdiction;
2) Jeopardizing the City's liability insurance coverage by not filling vacant department heads.
Should Mayor Sun be recalled from office based on any of these allegations?
At Tuesday night's city council meeting residents were angry, but Mayor Cy Sun was not there to hear their concerns. Sun sent a note that said he could not attend.
"They Mayor has not bothered to come to the meeting and listen," said one resident.
Resident DuWayne Gratz said, "when people start losing value on their house, they can’t flush their toilet, they can’t call the police, something is going to happen."
"I am going to go down fighting. This city is 109 years old, and it is worth fighting for," said Don Thomson.
Ken Scroggins was the only person at Tuesday's meeting who stood up to defend the Mayor.
"You haven’t given the man a chance. Everything he has wanted to do you have fought him on," said Scroggins.
According to city council member John Jones, the Mayor sent a public records request to Jones and other members of council seeking their emails, phone and text messages, and web browsing history.