Mayor Sun pitched new plan for Pacific
By SHAWN SKAGER
Auburn Reporter Sports Reporter
July 19, 2012 · 3:02 PM
Pacific Mayor Cy Sun hosted a public meeting Tuesday at City Hall to outline his plans to reorganize City administration, prevent cancellation of the City's insurance and cut personnel costs.
At issue, the letter the City received July 2 from the Cities Insurance Association of Washington, notifying it that Pacific's membership in the association would be cancelled, effective Dec. 31. Alongside that alarming news, the City learned that insurance carrier Canfield was planning to drop it.
To keep these things from happening, the City must fill a number of critical, but now vacant,a positions, including public works director, City engineer and building inspector.
Sun laid out his plan to forge an inter-local agreement with the City of Auburn to use its employees for those critical services.
Although lacking details and hard numbers at this time, Sun said his plan would outsource services such as planner, engineer, public works and building inspection to Auburn employees. Sun said he expected his plan would cost the City about $100,000 a year, as opposed to the $340,000 he claims it costs the City to pay its own employees in those positions.
"For instance, the building inspector, I might not use them for two weeks," Sun said, "then when I see the need for him, I will call them up to work. The logic of it is that he's not on the payroll, eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, for the whole month. He only comes when I need him."
In addition, Sun said he plans to roll the treasurer and City clerk/personnel director jobs into one position to further cut costs to the City.
Council member Joshua Putnam, along with fellow Council member Gary Hulsey, listened to what Sun had to say but said he has his doubts about the plan's feasibility.
"I'm somewhat skeptical of his proposed reorganization," Putnam said. "Of course, he hasn't given us enough details yet to know. Just off the top of my head, there are some job functions that aren't listed on his chart. The City clerk was working 60 hours a week before she went out. So that job was already more than full time. Combining them into one position, he hasn't identified where all that work would go."
Putnam added that as far as he knew, negotiations with Auburn to use their employees haven't even started yet.
"I'm skeptical that we can actually outsource it for less than we pay for it ourselves. We have lower taxes and pay scale than most of the surrounding cities already," Putnam said. "So far this year, outsourcing has generally increased costs, not reduced them."
Despite his concerns about the mayor's plans as they stand, Putnam said he wasn't opposed to working with the mayor and finding a way to close the rift between council and mayor so the City can find solutions to its insurance crisis.
"Whether I like his solution or not, if it will work to keep the insurance, that has to be our primary concern right now," he said. "Keeping the City going past Dec. 31 is a growing concern. This isn't about personalities.
"I think he needs to understand the council needs to be a full partner, not somebody he comes to for a rubber stamp after he works it out himself," Putnam added. "City government is a team effort, we're here for a reason, we're not just here to sign the checks. Policy is set by council. Job descriptions and positions, that's all set by the City Council. If he would take a more consultative approach with us and work with council instead of figuring it all out on his own and springing it on us as a completed plan, I think there'd be more confidence on it and he'd get some valuable feedback on the way. There would be genuine cooperation in City government."Contact Auburn Reporter Sports Reporter Shawn Skager at email@example.com or (253) 833-0218, ext. 5054.