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Four Pacific Police officers still on the beat despite termination letters from Mayor Cy Sun
Pacific Mayor Cy Sun tried to fire the four police officers who arrested him last week — but all of them are still on the job.
"We've instructed them to continue to work." said Michelle Woodrow, the officers' union representative and the Teamsters Local 117 Department of Corrections and Law Enforcement Coordinator.
"They will continue to do their duty in protecting the citizens of Pacific and ensuring that police services are provided here," Woodrow added.
Lt. Edwin Massey, Sgt. Michel Bos, Officer Jeremiah Schliesman and Officer Josh Hong all met with Sun individually on Friday in what were supposed to be Loudermill hearings, which provide an opportunity for officers to respond to the reasons cited for their termination.
"Typically, in a true Loudermill hearing, the person hearing the hearing would then make some sort of decision and formalize that," said Woodrow. "This has happened kind of backwards, with letters of termination of employment prior to having the Loudermill hearings."
Scheduled for 9 a.m., Friday, in the control room at the Pacific City Hall, the hearings got off to a rocky start, with the first of the four starting more than an hour late, after the first attempts to get Sun to leave his office failed.
Sun later claimed he didn't know the officers or union representatives were there, despite a number of attention-getting raps on the window of the door leading to his office.
"They didn't report in to any of the employees or the reception window," Sun said. "They just knocked at the door and walked away. I didn't know who knocked at the door. I was in my office waiting for them. They can stop by the public works window, it's open. The treasurer billing window is open, there are people there."
Once the first meetings began, Woodrow said, the mayor first tried to deny her the right to represent the officers in the hearings, despite assurances in the pre termination letters that they would be allowed to have legal counsel or a union representative present during the hearings.
"The mayor attempted to violate my member's rights and told him that he couldn't have union representation at the meeting, and that if I was going to be present, the meeting was over," Woodrow said. "And that's how (the first meeting) ended. He does not understand what the Loudermill process is and asserted that the member had to speak to him alone. And we are not going to do that."
Although Sun met with all four officers – with Woodrow present – the mayor made no final decisions about their future employment.
"The meeting, quite frankly, did not go anywhere," Woodrow said.
"I wouldn't try and guess what he may do next," she added. "It's anyone's guess at this point. We've instructed the four of them to continue to work."
On the whole, Woodrow said, the process was "frustrating."
"...I can't imagine the emotional impact this is having on the city as a whole," Woodrow said. "The citizens of the city of Pacific should be concerned when they have a mayor who is trying to terminate half of their police force. It's just ridiculous."
Sun sent out letters of pre termination earlier this week, accusing the officers of gross insubordination; unlawful harassment and discrimination; discourteous and prejudicial conduct; and willful and intentional violation of lawful orders. The letters also accuse the officers of "unlawful anarchy and mutiny against the City of Pacific."
All of the officers were on duty when Sun was arrested for trying to enter the locked and taped off the city clerk's office at Pacific City Hall. He was later released from custody and not charged.
Sgt. Bos said the whole experience has been disheartening.
"I'm not a happy camper. This is draining on the department, department members, families. It's devastating that this is happening to us, to the city."
ALSO: Mayor Cy Sun denied allegations on Friday that he had appointed himself the Pacific Police chief.
In a press release Thursday, the Pacific Police Department addressed rumors that the mayor intended to appoint himself as police chief.
"Questions keep arising as to the Mayor's qualifications and self appointment to the rank of chief of police. The Mayor is not the chief of police. He has the authority to appoint this position, but is not qualified to act within the scope of that position."
Sun agreed that he was not qualified for the post and said the rumors aren't true.
"I don't know where they got it from," Sun said. "They must have picked it up from the sky. Me acting as police chief? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. It'd be just like them acting as mayor."
The embattled mayor – who is under investigation by the King County Sheriff's Office for allegedly destroying City documents – also denied that he has destroyed any City documents.
"I don't remember what documents they're talking about," Sun said. "I was surprised (by the investigation), because I didn't know anything about it."