Judge orders Pacific mayor to start hiring department heads

PACIFIC, Wash. - A superior court judge ordered the embattled mayor of Pacific start hiring department heads. The city faces an end of year deadline to have the city back and running at full strength or it'll lose its insurance.

Late Monday night, the mayor posted fliers inside City Hall to fill the vacancies that have practically brought city government to a halt here. That's why the city council said it had no choice but to take the mayor to court.

Mayor Cy Sun has been at odds with his own city council from the day he took office this year -- the winner of a write-in campaign where he vowed to clean out what he called "corruption" at city hall. Department heads either quit or were fired.

He hasn't replaced them.

"The city is at a standstill," said Pacific City Attorney Kenyon Luce.

Luce and the city council want the judge to intervene and get the mayor moving. If he doesn't, Luce says the judge has the power to fine the mayor or even throw him in jail -- something he recently experienced after trying to cross an evidence line put up by his own police department to protect the city clerk's office.

Sun was locked up only a couple of hours, but it showed just how divided this city government is. Sun even had to hire his own private attorney.

Sun claims he's tried to hire department heads, but the city council has blocked his efforts. The city council says the mayor isn't bringing qualified people forward.

"Mayor Sun, it's not for me to tell you how to do your job. I don't intend to, but you do have to do it," said Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper. "The citizens of Pacific need you to get on this, and of course you also need the city council to cooperate."

The judge wants a progress report from the mayor in 30 days. However, late Monday the mayor posted the positions for community services director, city clerk, city engineer, finance director and community development/public works director.

The mayor's attorney said that shows the mayor is "on it" and the process is moving forward. The city council members say they'll believe when they see it..

Meanwhile, Sun will be in a Seattle court Wednesday as the recall effort against the mayor tries to get a judge's permission to move ahead.