Fired or not fired? City manager says letter to interim police chief 'misinterpreted'

Fired or not fired? City manager says letter to interim police chief 'misinterpreted' »Play Video
Sunnyside city manager Frank Sweet and interim police chief Phil Schenck. Action News photo

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Action News worked to get documents from the city of Sunnyside regarding the termination of interim police chief Phil Schenck. City manager Frank Sweet writes in a memo that his letter was "misinterpreted" and that he did not mean to suggest that Schenck would be let go.

The letter dated January 30 states, "For the last several months, you have made it clear to me and others within the City that you no longer desire to work for the City. I am aware that you have been looking for a position outside the City for some time. While I certainly respect your decision, I cannot have someone operating in such an important leadership position as yours, who is less than 100 percent committed to serving the City and its best interests."

It continues, "I will allow you until February 28, 2013 to find another position. During this time you are free to use your vacation leave to assist in you job search efforts."

KIMA also obtained a copy of a letter from Sweet to Schenck written on February 6th. Sweet wrote, " It has come to my attention that you misinterpreted my January 30, 2013 letter to mean that the City has terminated your employment. Let me assure you that your employment has not been terminated and there was no intention to suggest that it had or would be terminated."

To get all sides, Action News reached out to Frank Sweet and Phil Schenck. Sunnyside's Human Resources Department refused to comment and directed us back to Sweet. KIMA has reached out to Sweet for three days with no response.

City council member Theresa Hancock says she spoke with Sweet to clarify the letter and believes it was not Sweet's intent to fire Schenck.

What do you think? Does the original letter seem like a termination notice? You be the judge. Join the conversation on Facebook »