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Recall hearing for Pacific mayor set for Oct. 9
The Committee to Recall Cy Sun must wait until next week to find out whether the King County Superior Court will rule in favor of putting a recall of Pacific's controversial mayor before the voters.
Sun and committee members appeared in court on Sept. 6, with Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen ruling in favor of Sun's motion for a continuance of the case and setting a new hearing date for Tuesday, Oct. 9.
"I'm not surprised," said Don Thomson, chairman of the Committee to Recall Cy Sun. "The judge isn't familiar with recall law and the lawyer that Sun hired had not had time to put together a brief and also doesn't understand recall law."
Inveen ruled that Sun's lawyer, Tyler Firkins, needed more time to familiarize himself with the case. Firkins said he had just found out that he was going to be representing Sun the Friday before the Wednesday hearing.
The committee's attorney, Jeffery Helsdon, argued the delay would put the City of Pacific's insurance coverage in jeopardy. Pacific has until Dec. 31 to fill eight vacant City Hall positions or face cancellation of its policy.
Despite the urgency, Inveen moved the hearing back to 10 a.m. Oct. 9, giving Firkins and Sun more time to review the 200-page statement of charges and build their case.
The committee filed its complaint against Sun on Aug. 23, alleging that Sun has created a hostile work environment at City Hall and has put the City at risk of losing its insurance because of vacancies in all of the City's department head positions.
Since Sun took office in January, all of the department heads have either quit or been fired by the mayor – including the city/clerk, the treasurer/finance director, the community services director, the city engineer, the building code enforcer and the public works/community development director.
Last week, Sun was issued a Writ of Mandate by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper and ordered to hire for the vacant positions or face fines and/or jail time.
If Inveen rules next week in favor of the recall, the committee will have the ballot language for the recall – which has already been prepared by the King County Prosecutor's Office – and will have to wait 15 days before beginning to collect the 405 signatures required to put the recall on the ballot.
Unless Sun appeals the decision to the Washington State Supreme Court.
Thomson said if Sun does not appeal and the committee can collect the necessary amount of signatures, the recall could get on the ballot as early as December.
"If that happens, it would be a beautiful Christmas," Thomson said.
However, indictions are that Sun will challenge the ruling.
"He has expressed several times that he welcomes the recall," Thomson said. "But we anticipate him appealing. I don't anticipate (being on the ballot) before the middle of January."
Last week, the committee said that Sun had indicated on his blog at www.mayorsun.blogspot.com, that he would appeal.
"I plan to Appeal the Recall! It is NOW a matter of HONOR!" Sun wrote in a post that has since been taken down (an archived copy of the post can be seen at www.scribd.com/doc/107079532/Mayor-Blog-Appeal).
Neither Sun nor his attorney returned emails or calls for comment.
An appeal by Sun will likely mean that residents won't be able to recall him before the insurance deadline on Dec. 31.