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County Council Says Reardon Should Take Leave; He Says He's Staying

If the embattled Snohomish County Executive were to leave, former Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson would take his position.

After the Snohomish County Council voted 4-0 today to recommend he take a leave of absence, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon fired back in a 33-second video message, giving no indication that he was considering stepping down and saying that he is "focused on the issues that the people in Snohomish County care about."

The unanimous vote is a resolution only, as the council does not have the authority to remove Reardon from office.

Stephanie Wright of District 3, which serves Edmonds, Woodway and Lynnwood, was absent and did not vote.

The remaining members voted yes: Brian Sullivan, District 2; John Koster, District 1; Dave Somers, District 5; and Dave Gossett, District 4.

If Reardon were to step down, Deputy County Executive Gary Haakenson, former mayor of Edmonds, by charter would step into the role of Snohomish County's most powerful politician.

“Gary is a proven administrator, having served 11 years as the mayor of Edmonds," said Somers. “He is fully capable of taking over for the executive until this matter can be settled.”

It was Somers who on Tuesday called for Reardon to place himself on administrative leave while the Washington State Patrol continues its ongoing investigation into charges that Reardon used public funds for trips.

This request came at the same time that new details were reported last week by regional media outlets involving Reardon—including detailed descriptions of county resources used for his political campaign and to facilitate a personal relationship with a county employee.

Here is the full text of Reardon's video message:

As your county executive, I'm focused on the issues that the people in Snohomish County care about, and doing the work that matters. Like maintaining a balanced budget without raising taxes. Creating jobs and economic opportunites. And serving our seniors. And those on limited incomes. That is the commitment that I made to the people of Snohomish County, and I intend to keep it. And I stand ready to work with anyone, including the Snohomish County Council, to get the job done.

Lain Coubert February 23, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Good reporting. Balance! As a comment on the Heralds reporting, I took same details and wrote story from opp viewpoint. https://twitter.com/la1nc0ub3rt/statuses/172437893766316033

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