Cy Sun recall, Pacific, Washington (2013)
A vote about whether to recall Cy Sun from his position as mayor of Pacific, Washington, took place on June 25, 2013. Sun was recalled from office. The recall effort was launched in July 2012, and signatures in the recall effort were submitted in April 2013.
On July 19, 2012, Sun was arrested for allegedly trying to break into the city clerk's office to destroy documents. Sun subsequently sent termination notices to the four police officers who arrested him. Sun also fired City Clerk Jane Montgomery, who has since filed a wrongful termination suit against the city. Sun has fired 12 of the city's employees, including the city's police chief. The Committee to Recall Cy Sun organized the recall effort. Sun was accused of retaliating against city employees, destroying public records, and jeopardizing the city’s insurance coverage.Pacific's insurance carrier said that it would stop providing coverage to the city if the town does not stabilize. The city council was later forced to by a higher-risk and more costly policy.
Tracy Apata, a member of the recall committee, said, “He’s come and devastated the town...We have to step up and do something as citizens. We need to do whatever we need to do to stop this madness and save the city.”
Sun was issued a Temporary Writ of Mandate that ordered him to begin the hiring processes for vacant positions in City Hall and the Pacific Police Department. Sun appeared at a Pierce County hearing to attempt to prove that he is complying with the mandate. The hearing, which was originally scheduled for late September 2012, took place on October 9, 2012. Sun said that he incurred over $200,000 in legal fees defending his actions as mayor.
Path to the ballot
On August 23, 2012, the Committee to Recall Cy Sun turned in a 200-page account of Sun’s alleged misdeeds to the King County Prosecutor’s office. In order to conduct a recall in Washington, a judge must rule that sufficient cause for recall exists in accordance with the laws governing recall in Washington. Recall targets have the option to appeal to the Supreme Court of Washington.
On October 9, 2012, Judge Laura Inveen approved two of the nine charges filed against Sun. Inveen ruled that Sun's failure to hire police officers and his demands that officers act as his “personal police force” by conducting an out-of-state investigation into his personal business were valid grounds for recall. Sun had 15 days to appeal his case to the Washington Supreme Court, which he chose to do. If the state's high court had invalidated the lower court's ruling, the recall effort would have come to an end. However, the state's high court did side with the lower court's ruling, granting recall organizers the right to begin collecting signatures toward a recall election. A minimum of 425 signatures were necessary to force a recall election. On April 29, 2013, recall organizers submitted 556 signatures.
Money in the race
It was reported that recall supporters spent an estimated $37,000 on their effort, largely due to costly legal fees. Sun stated in April that he had spent $100,000 of his own money on legal fees, but city records showed the city owed $39,000 for the mayor. The cost of recall election itself was estimated as high as $15,000 prior to election.
Recall elections scheduled
On May 10, King County staff confirmed that recall supporters had submitted the minimum amount of valid signatures required to force a recall election. The recall election was scheduled for June 25, 2013, with ballots being mailed out on June 5. Voters had to consider whether Sun committed malfeasance, misfeasance, and violated his oath of office.
|“|| Ballot Synopsis of Recall Charges Against Mayor Cy Sun, City of Pacific
The charges made by King County registered voter Donald Thomson 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?"
City of Pacific Mayor Cy Sun Response to the Recall Charges
Cy Sun, Mayor of the City of Pacific, refutes these allegations as follows:
1. Mayor Sun continues to fight against entrenched corruption in the City of Pacific. As part of his efforts, Mayor Sun directed Pacific police officers to investigate what was a prior misuse of police resources, specifically requesting an explanation as to why officers had previously travelled outside of their jurisdiction to Oregon when not directed or approved to do so.
2. Mayor Sun proposed candidates for department head positions that were rejected by the City Council. The City obtained insurance and there was no lapse in liability coverage.
|Cy Sun Recall|
|Election results via: King County Elections (Final Results)|
Reports indicated shortly after the election that once Cy Sun was officially recalled, Council Member James McMahan would become Mayor Pro Tem. However, McMahan indicated he did not wish to hold the duty long term, so a new mayor for the city would have to be selected to fill the rest of Sun four-year term. Additionally, the city was also looking to make agreements with neighboring Auburn City and King County to receive administrative help.
- Kiro Radio, "Recall election to be held for Pacific Mayor Cy Sun", May 10, 2013
- Seattle Times, "Pacific Mayor Cy Sun recalled, first votes show", June 25, 2013
- News Tribune, "Pacific mayor behind firings faces recall effort", July 27, 2012
- MyNorthwest.com, "Recall of controversial Pacific mayor stalled in court", February 13, 2013
- KOMONews.com, "Signatures filed to force recall vote of embattled Pacific mayor", April 29, 2013
- Bellingham Herald, "Decision about a special election to recall Pacific mayor is delayed", September 26, 2012
- Bellingham Herald, "Appeal means election to recall Pacific mayor unlikely this year", October 17, 2012
- The News Tribute, "Pacific mayor recall battle costly for all involved," June 20, 2013
- Seattle Weekly, "The Crazy Saga of Pacific Mayor Cy Sun Continues", July 27, 2012
- Auburn Reporter, "Pacific mayor faces day in court next week", September 20, 2012
- News-Tribune, "Court OKs 2 charges against mayor of Pacific; recall effort awaits appeal", October 10, 2012
- Auburn Reporter, "Pacific speeds toward Sun recall vote", May 29, 2013
- King5.com, "Ballots to recall Pacific Mayor will be mailed June 5th," May 23, 2013
- King County Elections, "June 25, 2013 Special Election"
- Auburn-Reporter, "Pacific City Council to pick a new mayor next week," July 3, 2013