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Pacific gets insurance, puts dissolution or annexation on hold
The City of Pacific got a last minute reprieve on Wednesday with the City Council voting to accept an offer of insurance coverage for 2013.
The new policy will provide about half the coverage of the new insurance and cost more money, but it will stave off the possibility of the city having to annex into Auburn or cease to exist.
"You need liability insurance to operate the city, the employees need to have some sort of liability coverage, coverage on all the vehicles, coverage for anyone that may get hurt," Council President Leanne Guier told King 5 News.
The city was informed in July that it's previous policy with the Cities Insurance Association of Washington would be cancelled on Dec. 31 if "swift, concrete and verifiable deeds to bring a more stable and professional environment to the City of Pacific" were not made.
At the time of the notice the city was without any major department heads, all of whom had either resigned or been fired by controversial Mayor Cy Sun.
Although the city began to fill vacancies after Sun was ordered by a Pierce County Superior Court judge to hire new personnel, a plea to the CIAW to extend coverage for Pacific was denied.
Facing operating without liability insurance – which would leave city employees, elected officials and police officers personally liable – the council drafted resolutions to either annex into Auburn or put a vote to dissolve the city before residents.
Both resolutions were permanently tabled by the council on Wednesday after the vote to accept the new policy.
The city's new policy provides $5 million in coverage, about half the previous policy, and at a higher cost.
Pacific is currently facing nearly $10 million in lawsuits filed by former employees.
After being absent from the previous two meetings regarding annexation and dissolution, Sun was in attendance and defiant at Wednesday's meeting.
"You people want to vote me out, go ahead and do it," he told the audience.
“...by golly I'm staying in and I'm doing exactly what the people voted me in for,” he added.
Many blame Sun's confrontational leadership style for the 103-year-old city's woes, including the Committee to Recall Cy Sun, who have mounted a campaign to put a recall vote before the people.
Currently the recall effort is raising money to pay their lawyers so the case can be considered by the Washington State Supreme Court. A previous decision by the King County Superior Court ruling there was sufficient cause for recall was appealed by Sun.
A recall vote could come as early as April.