Sunnyside Ousts City Manager, Mayor Resigns
The city of Sunnyside is without a City Manager tonight after the city council votes to fire Interim City Manager Frank Sweet after less than a year on the job.
The move by the council comes about a week after Sweet tried to fire acting Police Chief Phil Schenck, who is a Sunnyside native.
The city council voted 4-2 to remove Sweet from his job.
Mayor Mike Farmer also resigned from his position on the council, saying he disagreed with Sweet's firing.
Carolyn Terrel was one of about a hundred people at the public meeting.
She admits she was not a fan of Frank Sweet, after hearing taht he was fired from a similar position in Selah.
"In a way, I was happy," said Terrel, "I figured, you know, why do we need somebody in our system here at Sunnyside working with a chalk record like that."
Following Sweet's termination, and Farmer's resignation, Sunnyside Fire Chief Aaron Markham was appointed the Interim City Manager, while councilman Jim Restucci was voted in as the new Mayor.
Despite the quick transition, some think the city took a step backwards.
"I think we need to bring our City Manager back and I wish that our Mayor would come back as well," said Trish Combs, "They were an awesome team, and they had some good direction, and they were headed in a positive direction for the city."
"It's a shame for the whole city council," said Tony Hidalgo, "You know, I've seen City Managers come and go, and finally, I see someone who really cares about the community."
The city's had multiple city managers over the past decade.
We asked the current city manager why it's had such difficulty keeping that position filled.
"Maybe some of the previous managers weren't given an opportunity to adjust their plan, and instead the choice for the council at the time was to terminate the contract with that same manager at the time and seek other possible candidates," said Markham.
There is no timetable for finding a new City Manager.
Carolyn Terrel simply hopes for the best.
"We [need to] get people in that's wise minded, that's using wisdom and knowledge," said Terrel, "I'm hoping that Sunnyside's learned a lesson from this."
Phil Schenck remains a candidate to become permanent police chief--he has been acting chief since Ed Radder retired last year.
We asked Schenck for a comment today, but he declined our request for an on-camera interview.