SNOHOMISH County Executive Aaron Reardon’s departure from office is as improbable as his bid for the job a decade ago.
Reardon closed his 2013 State of the County address Thursday with the announcement he would step down May 31. He said new allegations about political misconduct in his office were taking an emotional and financial toll on himself, his wife and his family.
Reardon was a young, recently elected state senator, and two-term veteran of the state House of Representatives, when he decided to seek the county’s top post in 2003. A brash choice exuding hubris and self-confidence.
Those characteristics resonated in later choices in his private life and political career. The latest episode, as detailed in The Herald in Everett, is over what appears to be a campaign to harass and surveil critics and political rivals.
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The Snohomish County Council on Wednesday took control of the Department of Information Services from the executive’s authority.
Reardon said he wants an independent investigation of allegations against him and county staff. Council members and Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe want the same thing. Yes, indeed, sort it all out.
Reardon leaves office as something of a political enigma. When he was re-elected for a third term in 2011, he presented voters with a balanced budget for the seventh year without a general fund property-tax increase. Public-safety spending was maintained, and a reserve fund was in place. It was a solid, even commendable, record.
Maybe the combination of hubris and being term-limited out of office took its toll. Reardon was seemingly undone by events of his own making.
Now, as resignation looms, the operative phrase seems to be, what might have been. The spotlight on Reardon, however, is undimmed for the near future, in or out of office.