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Pacific speeds toward Sun recall vote
With weeks remaining before the June 25 special election, in which Pacific voters will determine whether to recall Mayor Cy Sun, the King County Department of Elections has released the official ballot language.
According to the ballot, voters will have to consider whether Sun committed malfeasance, misfeasance and violated his oath of office in two instances in their decision to decide whether to remove him from office.
The first issue in question is whether Sun directed Pacific police to "operate as his personal police force in conducting a criminal investigation into the identity of those responsible for distributing negative information and allegations about him (Sun) concerning his Echo, Oregon property, which is outside of their jurisdiction."
On April 22, 2012 Sun directed then-acting Pacific Police Chief Jim Pickett in a letter to investigate the persons responsible for publishing a document in Pacific titled, "Who Is the Real Cy Sun?," which has since became known as the "Echo Papers."
Attributed to the Concerned Citizens For Decency in Pacific Government, the "Echo Papers" allege that Sun lied about owning a 700-acre ranch with an operating credit line of $2 million in Echo, a community of about 700 people in Umatilla County in northeastern Oregon.
The document states, "Cy and Barbara Sun own a 20-acre parcel of land at 5100 Gerone Street in Echo, Oregon ...." The flyer, which was included in the Committee to Recall Cy Sun's Declaration of Charges, also alleges that the property is only worth $14,141.
Refutation the charges against him in the recall, Sun claims he directed police officers to investigate a "prior misuse of police resources, specifically requesting an explanation as to why officers had previously travelled outside of their jurisdiction to Oregon when not directed or approved to do so."
Because Sun's letter to Pickett did not reference any crimes committed in the City of Pacific, the police department refused to investigate them.
According to Pacific resident Clint Steiger, a vocal opponent of the controversial mayor, Sun's allegations against the department and the claim that Sun "continues to fight against the entrenched corruption in the City of Pacific" are unfounded.
"The police department were never involved in that investigation," Steiger said. "I was the person that did all that."
According to Steiger, he obtained information regarding Sun's farm in Echo by calling and talking with an office worker in Echo's City Hall.
Steiger also weighed in on Sun's response to the second charge in the recall that he jeopardized the City's liability insurance coverage by not filling vacant department head positions.
In the ballot language, Sun casts the blame at the feet of the City Council.
"Where he states the council has been rejecting his people, the people he's brought have not met the qualifications, so they've been rejected by the council," Steiger said. "His accusations are all junk."
Although Sun has steadfastly maintained that a culture of corruption was prevalent in the City's prior administration under former mayor Richard Hildreth, a Washington State Auditor's review earlier this year of Pacific's books from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2011, found "no instances of noncompliance or other matters that are required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards."
"(There were) more than 40 claims of corruption in the City from various sources, newspaper articles and blog postings," City Councilman Joshua Putnam said after the release of the report in February. "They investigated all of them, went over budget on hours, and at the end of the day found no corruption, no improper governmental actions."
Hildreth has filed a lawsuit against Sun and the City of Pacific to clear his name of any charges that he ran a corrupt administration.
Sun did not respond to an email request for an interview.
The vote to recall Sun is June 25. A simple majority is needed to oust him from office. The final election results will be certified July 9.
Ballot Synopsis of Recall Charges Against Mayor Cy Sun, City of Pacific
"The charges made by King County registered voter Donald Thomson against Cy Sun, Mayor of the City of Pacific, allege Mayor Sun committed misfeasance in office, malfeasance in office and/or violated his oath of office by:
1. Directing Pacific police department officers to operate as his personal police force in conducting a criminal investigation into the identity of those responsible for distributing negative information and allegations about him concerning his Echo, Oregon property, which is outside of their jurisdiction;
2. Jeopardizing the City's liability insurance coverage by not filling vacant department heads.
Should Mayor Sun be recalled from office based on any of these allegations?"
"Cy Sun, Mayor of the City of Pacific, refutes these allegations as follows:
1. Mayor Sun continues to fight against entrenched corruption in the City of Pacific. As part of his efforts, Mayor Sun directed Pacific police officers to investigate what was a prior misuse of police resources, specifically requesting an explanation as to why officers had previously travelled outside of their jurisdiction to Oregon when not directed or approved to do so.
2. Mayor Sun proposed candidates for department head positions that were rejected by the City Council. The City obtained insurance and there was no lapse in liability coverage."