Auburn agrees to provide some services to storm-tossed Pacific

After voters in Pacific ousted Mayor Cy Sun in last week's recall election, the City of Auburn answered yes to a request to provide some sorely needed municipal services to its beleaguered neighbor.

On Monday the Auburn City Council authorized Mayor Pete Lewis to negotiate specific terms that may have to be included in an interim interlocal agreement with Pacific, and to ensure that the agreement is carried out.

The request came from Pacific Council President Leanne Guier, who asked Auburn for clerical, public works and information technology services. But that short list may be expanded.

"Those services are still being worked out, and [the Public Works Committee] had a number of recommendations to guide the mayor in his negotiation of the details of the agreement," said Councilman Rich Wagner, chairman of Auburn's Public Works Committee.

"In general, we agree that we should help our neighbor city get back on her feet, with a bunch of protections for our City to ensure that it doesn't negatively impact how we do business," Wagner said.

The agreement allows Auburn to provide services to Pacific at a full-cost recovery rate, including basic salary and benefit costs.

The terms of the agreement will be in effect for no more than three years, beginning on the date of signing, although it may be extended afterward by written agreement.

In an emergency, the City of Auburn's needs will take precedence, Lewis said.

In his year and a half in office, Sun – who pledged to battle corruption he claimed was rampant in city government — dismissed city staff and decimated the City's police force. The city clerk was twice replaced.

Sun's refusal to staff vacant department head positions adequately at City Hall led to the loss of Pacific's liability insurance. Although the City was able to secure pricier, less comprehensive liability insurance at the midnight hour, the crisis forced the City Council to consider two stark options: cease to exist as a municipality; or annex into neighboring Auburn. Neither of those dire possibilities happened.

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