New Pacific mayor's changes jolt City Hall, community

Cy Sun vowed last fall that if voters elected him mayor of Pacific, change would come to City Hall.

True to his word, Pacific's new chief executive is shaking things up. But recent sackings and resignations of prominent officials six weeks into his term have raised hackles throughout the small community.

Jay Bennett, the public works and community development director, resigned Nov. 30. City Engineer James Morgan resigned Jan. 23.

Sun decided not to renew the contract of City Attorney Al Abuan but gave him a 30-day notice effective Jan. 17. Sun said Abuan will help the City during the transition to a new attorney.

Police Chief John Calkins, meanwhile, has been placed on paid administrative leave for misconduct stemming from an argument over the back-order purchase of new police vehicles following the Jan. 3 City Council meeting, Sun said.

On Monday, Sun dismissed Community Services Director Linda Morris.

And that, he said, is just for starters.

"My job is beginning, the cleanup is only beginning," said Sun, 81, a write-in candidate who unseated two-term incumbent Rich Hildreth by 70 votes in the Nov. 8 general election. "Restaffing is in progress. I want people out there doing their jobs, not sitting behind desks shuffling papers."

Sun had vowed to "kick out" overpaid City employees if elected. Now that he's in office, however, he's got a fight on his hands.

Critics claim Sun is forcing out well-qualified officials to advance his own political agenda.

Nothing of the sort, Sun responds. He wants change, greater efficiency and less spending.

"I have opposition," he said. "The people want me out. They want to recall me."

Despite the public outcry, Sun is moving ahead with the business at hand while City staff remains in flux.

Morris was stunned by the notice. She said she and Sun had never discussed her position.

"A lot of seniors are upset on how all this went down," said one Pacific senior citizen, who asked not to be identified. "Many are heartbroken on what the mayor has done to the (community) center.

"He has no idea of what he's doing," she said. "The mayor is doing whatever he wants to do right now, and he's screwing up the city. It's a mess. He's listening to some very bad advice."

Sun insists he wanted to work with the preexisting staff, but differences made that impossible.

"I have my way of doing things," he said. "I want to take things head on."

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