The Snohomish County Executive’s abrupt resignation announcement came as a shock to his fellow public officials. Aaron Reardon has been under the gun for more than a year, dating back to revelations of an extramarital affair.
But audience members were caught off guard when, at the end of an otherwise unremarkable “State of the County” speech, he announced he would step down May 31.
County Council member Dave Somers says he got the news on his Blackberry.
“And I was just totally shocked and surprised. And I think everybody’s just kind of digesting it,” Somers said.
Reardon told the crowd at the Everett Golf and Country Club he’d been subject to a number of what he called “false allegations” designed to undermine him. He said the attacks are taking a toll on his family, and declared, quote: “enough is enough.”
Council member Somers, who like Reardon is a Democrat, says he has a hard time thinking of the executive as a victim.
“Everything that’s happened over the last couple of years involved either his actions or behaviors, or those directly underneath him. So I don’t really view him as a victim,” he said.
The council had voted the day before to strip Reardon of control over a county department. Reardon had recently admitted members of his staff filed dubious information requests targeting his political rivals. That episode is connected to an earlier scandal, where Reardon was questioned about his use of public resources to pursue an extramarital affair.
The council will choose his replacement from a list of three candidates submitted by the Democratic Party.