Lights & Sirens

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Police chief of Pacific reinstated after being fired by embattled mayor

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on Sep. 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
September 14, 2012 2:41 pm

The police chief of Pacific, who was fired in a controversial move by embattled Mayor Cy Sun, returned to work today after a city commission overturned his termination.

The Civil Service Commission ruled Thursday in a 15-page decision that “the mayor’s decision was made for political reasons and was not made in good faith for cause.”

Sun fired John Calkins May 18 for raising his voice at city employees during a City Council workshop in January during which he found out his request for five new patrol cars would not happen.

Sun’s attorney contended that the chief was “irate, loud and out of control” and required three people to simmer him down.

The mayor placed Calkins on administrative leave Jan. 18, the day after the meeting, and waited four months to fire him so he could consider all his options. The commission ruled that Sun did not follow proper procedures for terminating a city employee.

Calkins appealed his termination and argued at a two-day hearing in August that he was “set up” by Sun, who reportedly told at least two people he planned to fire the chief.

After listening to both sides, the commission found that the mayor’s testimony was “not credible or worthy of belief.”

It also recommended Calkins be disciplined for his outburst and that being suspended without pay for a month would be appropriate. The chief has already served his suspension and deserves back pay for lost wages and benefits, they said.

The one month of pay will be deducted from the owed back wages, the commission said.

At the end of its decision, the commission encouraged the mayor and police chief “to work together in serving the citizens of Pacific.”

Calkins was one of 12 employees Sun has fired in the last few months. The city, which is located on the Pierce-King County line, employes 20 people.

Calkins has worked for Pacific since 2000. Sun was elected mayor last year.

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