KOMO-TV Busted 'Boss'
Update: Pacific's crotchety mayor has rained down pink slips on his city, firing altogether four cops and the city clerk this week, then ducking the media today. A new recall petition has also been launched. More after the jump.
KOMO-TV Busted 'Boss'
Monday's story: And here his strategy had been working so well, Cy Sun figured. When someone got in his way, the 82-year-old Pacific mayor simply fired them. His police chief and city works director were among the first of a half-dozen city employees to be axed or resign since January. But last week, when Sun told two of his police officers they were fired for literally standing in his way, they sent him packing - in handcuffs.
At high noon Thursday, while a tipped-off news crew from KOMO-TV rolled video, Sun ripped off the police tape across the clerk's door at City Hall. With his friend, a locksmith, urging him on ("You're in charge of the city, tell your boys what to do!"), he pushed past the cops and prepared to enter a locked office he's been told is off-limits due to one of the many feuds he's started in the south King County town of 6.800.
When two officers grabbed him, the mayor immediately put his arms behind him to be cuffed and arrested - likely his plan all along. (Sun had earlier spoken with the news crew and told them of his mission; police were also aware he was coming, and put up the police tape).
"You're hurting me! You're hurting me! Let me go!" the wiry mayor dramatically complained before being led away. A few of his supporters, who happened to be tagging along, hooted and called the cops "gestapo." One said it was unconstitutional to arrest the "boss" of Pacific, as hizzoner calls himself.
The mayor was briefly held at police headquarters, then released, vowing revenge for being "manhandled." He indicated he might even break into City Hall in the middle of the night - prompting police to keep a 24-hour watch on the office.
In other words, it was just another screwball day in Pacific's municipal soap opera, in which a greenhorn mayor promises to clean up a small town only to end up turning it into a bigger mess.
It also further divided up the sides: The officers who hauled Sun away were under the command of the city's acting police chief, who the mayor had appointed after firing the permanent chief.
The acting chief made it clear his allegiance was to the law and the city attorney, who'd warned Sun the clerk's records were not to be touched by him.
The attorney suspects the mayor wants to remove or destroy files that are now being reviewed by county and state investigators, at the city council's request. The council and City Clerk Jane Montgomery have suggested the records contain information about possible misconduct by city employees - police officers included.
Montgomery took to locking her office door to keep the mayor away from the files. She also claimed she was frightened of him. The strain made her ill, she said, and when she recently went on sick leave, police were ordered to secure the office and files.
It's now a government standoff, with police preventing a mayor from legally viewing his own city records or entering his own city offices. "The records in there are essential for the operations of City Hall," Sun carped at a news conference later. "We're running on one leg."
Still, he didn't seem to think there might have been a better way to go about this. Besides battling with the clerk, the council and citizens demanding he resign or be recalled, the mayor has created another backlash: The city's insurance carrier is threatening to cancel coverage because of risks posed by the shortage of municipal managers - the result of Sun's half-baked budget cuts and firings.
Narrowly elected by write-in vote last year after he vowed to clean up corruption, Sun said in an awkwardly worded May newsletter that the council's recent vote of no confidence in him brought on "an agony, shame, and depression that penetrated both my wife (deeply) and I." He said he was worried about continuing on because of his age and "my wife?s mental health."
The mayor didn't respond to our requests for further comment. After his arrest last week, he described the action by his police force as "mutiny...mutiny." But, like Captain Queeg, he claimed to still be at the helm.
Update: Sun issued a pink slip to arch rival Montgomery later Monday, blaming her for his arrest and saying she was not qualified to be a clerk. He also issued termination notices to four police officers, including the interim police chief he'd appointed after earlier firing the permanent police chief.
Sun was supposed to appear at a hearing for Montgomery today, but fled out a back door when he saw TV cameras. After reporters followed him to his home, he refused to speak other than ordering them off his property. KING-TV has the story here.
P.S. For those interested, here's where you can sign the new Recall Mayor Cy petition.