Pacific Mayor Cy Sun is destroying the city we love. He may be sincere, but his actions after one short year in office have caused almost irreparable harm.
We must act
NOW if there is any hope to save Pacific. This page details why the recall is necessary, urgent and our only hope to restore sanity to our city.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Context For Mayor Sun's Arrest

Mayor Sun got quite a bit of press last week when he was arrested by his own officers. There is more to the story than the media is reporting. It's important that Pacific voters know all the facts.

Fact 1: The mayor had announced at a staff meeting the day prior to his arrest that he is destroying city records. Paula Wiech, associate city planner, openly questioned his authority to destroy public records at will. There are very strict laws that govern public agencies regarding public records and their retention. Sun immediately placed Wiech on administrative leave. The union stepped in and helped Wiech remain on the job.

Fact 2: After learning that the mayor is destroying public records (a clear violation of the law), the police department launched a criminal investigation the day before Sun tried to force his way into the clerk's office. King County Sheriff was contacted to lead the investigation so there would not be any conflict of interest.

Fact 3: Mayor Sun had made no attempt for several weeks prior to his arrest to enter the office. The clerk serves as personnel manager and access to the city personnel files are strictly controlled by law. The clerk's office was declared a potential crime scene (because of the investigation of destruction of public records) and stabilized well before the mayor let anyone know he wanted to enter.

Fact 4: Mayor Sun made his first attempt to enter the clerk's office the same day he learned he was under criminal investigation. He brought in locksmith Frank Lonergan (former candidate for public office in Auburn) to open the door and showed up with the news camera with him. The doorway was clearly marked with crime tape and the mayor was asked repeatedly to not force his way into the office.

Fact 5: The chief executive officer does not have the authority to fire an employee for doing their job. Mayor Sun tried to fire the police officers who were performing their lawful duty while arresting him. He does not have the authority to avoid arrest by firing the police officers who repeatedly asked him not to force his way into an active crime scene. Police officers are not "at-will" employees. Their hiring and firing is governed by federal and state law, Pacific Municipal Code, union contracts and civil service rules.

Under the law, there must be "just cause" before any public employee can be punished for misconduct. If misconduct is alleged, a full investigation must be conducted. If misconduct is established, the employee is entitled to a "Loudermill" hearing prior to the imposition of discipline. This is the employee's chance to present their defense or mitigating circumstances prior to being disciplined. If discipline is to be imposed, employers must adhere to the concept of "progressive discipline." Termination is not the only answer and it is rarely considered. Police officers are no different. They are entitled to a finding of just cause and due process. This is especially important for the police, whose job it is to enforce the law. Employment rules are in place, in part, to prevent abuse of power by over-zealous public officials or others in position of authority.

Bottom line, there were other ways for Mayor Sun to accomplish his goal of access to the clerk's office. It appears he brought the media with him and he clearly chose to force his way into the office with no notice or attempt to work out reasonable solution to his request. Mayor Sun's arrest was completely avoidable and within his control.

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