After just a half-year in a job he won as a write-in candidate, Pacific, Wash., mayor Cy Sun could end up with his name on a new ballot to write him out of office. Talk of recalling the crusty, 82-year-old vet is the work of critics who claim "I'm ruining the city with my crazy, stupid ways of being a mayor," Sun complains.
And after he unloaded on his detractors in a recent newsletter, wondering if they were harming his wife's mental health, the question now seems to be whom townsfolk would prefer as mayor: the stubborn budget-slasher Sun's become, or a more even-minded charmer.
Thing is, after six months at the helm, he says, he's already saved the little burg on the King/Pierce County line more than $260,000.
His opponents challenge that savings claim, much as they've challenged his take-no-prisoners style. Since January, the political novice who promised not to "take any gruff from anybody" has fired two department heads, including the police chief, while two others quit their jobs serving the town's 6,800 residents.
But Sun eliminated his own salary as well. After beating two-term incumbent mayor Rich Hildreth by 79 votes in November by going door-to-door to solicit write-in support, Sun announced that he'd turn back the $750 monthly mayoral paycheck and work for free.
As he slashed payroll and expenses, his fans applauded, while his critics—the city council among them—called him reckless. Councilmembers ended up passing a no-confidence vote, sparking talks of a recall movement last month.
Most recently, the back-and-forth between the mayor and other city officials turned so combative that City Clerk Jane Montgomery began locking her office door, apparently to keep the mayor at bay. She has also taken out an antiharassment order against one of the mayor's allies.
Sun says he's currently not commenting to the media about the Pacific battle. But he issued what is so far a one-time "newsletter" defending his decisions. As mayoral newsletters go, it's memorable:
"Give me some slack!" he tells his critics in explaining his hiring/firing philosophy. They may not like his "crazy, stupid ways of being a mayor," but "Please don't tell me what to do. Let me tell 'YOU' what I know:
"My employment folder is full of NO GOOD, REJECTED SEASONED BUREAUCRATS - MUNICIPAL LOAFERS, who were either fired or laid off by their former City employers. REJECTS who seem to migrate from one City to another.
"My definition of a Bureaucrat is a sweet-talking loafer who has the talent of winning friends to hold his job and work his way up to a higher salary."
As for the Pacific City Council's vote of no confidence, the mayor says in his newsletter it has brought on "an agony, shame, and depression that penetrated both my wife (deeply) and I. I'm worried about my wife's mental health.
"How long am I able to endure? Because I'm 82 and the mental (stress caused by all the political intrigues) condition of my wife, I have my reservations," he writes.