John Lovick was appointed Monday as Snohomish County executive, vowing to “serve with integrity” and rebuild trust in a county tarnished by two years of scandals under former Executive Aaron Reardon.
Reardon resigned effective Friday. The Snohomish County Council lost no time appointing Lovick, the county sheriff, in a 5-0 vote Monday morning. Lovick was one of three candidates for the seat, along with state Rep. John McCoy and local attorney Todd Nichols.
The three candidates were put forward by the Snohomish County Democrats, as the charter dictates. Lovick, 62, will be up for election in 2014.
Meanwhile, Undersheriff Tom Davis was sworn in Monday to replace Lovick as acting sheriff.
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Reardon, 42, was investigated by the State Patrol after a county employee said she had an affair with him, and that he had allegedly used county trips and time to be with her.
Later, more questions emerged about whether two staffers were retaliating against those who had cooperated with the criminal investigation.
The county seemed in a hurry to put all that behind them, and Monday’s interviews and deliberation process felt like a formality.
Lovick was so clearly the front-runner that staff members had put his nameplate on the door of the county-executive office before the vote, and he said during his County Council interview that he already had begun moving things into an office.
“There’s been somewhat of a cloud over Snohomish County, and we need someone in the office of the county executive who will bring responsibility, accountability and most of all integrity to the office,” Lovick said during his interview with the County Council.
Lovick, of Mill Creek, has been county sheriff for 5½ years. Before that, he was a state trooper and served in the Legislature.
He is gregarious and well-liked by county officials. He said during his interview that as sheriff, he would sometimes talk to a council member up to 10 times a day, just calling to get questions answered.
If he continues that as executive, it will be a big change from the isolated Reardon, whom council members said they often would not see for months.
Lovick was raised in Louisiana by his grandmother, and during an emotional speech Monday, he held up a photo of her and spoke about how she had influenced him.
“She would always say, ‘Baby, just be nice to people. Just treat people well,’ ” Lovick said.
He finished his speech by holding up a small American flag and saluting, saying, “I am so very, very proud to be an American.”
After his appointment, Lovick wouldn’t say much about Reardon. He said the county has had a rough time, but promised:
“Things are going to turn around immediately.”
Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @EmilyHeffter