Updated at 2:30 p.m. Here’s the press release issued by the Mayor’s office Wednesday morning, which includes more detail on the Mayor’s background and the process for filling his seat:
Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson will leave his position as mayor on July 2 to fill the role of Deputy County Executive with Snohomish County.
County Executive Aaron Reardon made the offer on May 28, and Gary will begin with the County on July 6. Gary made the announcement last night at the Edmonds City Council meeting.
“This is an exciting opportunity to work with the County Executive and County employees,” Gary said. “I’m grateful to Executive Reardon for the offer and look forward to working with him to meet the countywide challenges.”
Gary has served as Edmonds mayor for 11 years. He became mayor in January 2000 and was re-elected to a second term beginning in 2004 and a third term beginning in 2008. Prior to that he served on the Edmonds City Council for four years, from 1996 through 1999.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 15 years of association with the City of Edmonds,” Gary said. “My heartfelt thanks to City employees for their hard work and dedication to Edmonds residents. I also want to thank the citizens for their overwhelming support to me as mayor these past 11 years.”
In addition to his position as mayor, Gary also serves as chair of the SNOCOM board and the Snohomish Emergency Radio System (SERS) board. He is on the executive board as the mayor-at-large for Snohomish County Cities.
“I look forward to continuing working with all the Snohomish County elected officials as we strive to move the County forward in these challenging economic times,” Gary said.
Gary spent most of his career in the retail field. He managed several departments for JC Penney, and later co-founded Everett-based Zumiez, a national retail clothing chain that currently has 389 stores.
Gary is a Northwest native, having grown up in the Seattle area. He attended Blanchet High School and Seattle University, where he received a degree in business administration. He is married to Dolly, and they have two married sons, Brett and Bryan. Gary and Dolly became grandparents in 2006. Brett and his wife Mandy have two daughters, Matea and Dahlia. Bryan and his wife Jenn have two sons, Alex and Sam.
Gary is 62 years old and has been an Edmonds resident for 25 years.
The City Council will appoint an individual to complete the remaining 18 months of Gary’s term, through December 2011. Any Edmonds resident who is a registered voter and has lived in Edmonds for one year or more is eligible to apply. Details, deadline information, and an application will be available soon on the City’s website at www.ci.edmonds.wa.us.
Posted at 8:00 a.m.: Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson announced to the Edmonds City Council Tuesday night that he is stepping down as mayor and will become the new Deputy Snohomish County Executive. Although My Edmonds News learned about the resignation during Tuesday’s meeting, we complied with Haakenson’s request that the information be withheld until he had a chance to tell his own staff, which occurred during an all-city employee meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Haakenson, in his third term as Edmonds mayor, had already stated that he wouldn’t run again He said that Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon recruited him for the post, and that Reardon offered him the job last Friday. While Haakenson will stay in the mayor’s office until the end of June, he faces a busy transitional month. Shortly after meeting with Edmonds employees, for example, he was scheduled to drive to Everett to meet his new county staff.
“I’ve always been asked what I’m going to do when I’m done being mayor, and my answer has always been, something will come along,” Haakenson told the council Tuesday. “And this time, it came along maybe not at the best time, but opportunities come when they come. ” Haakenson said the decision to take the county job, left vacant with the resignation of Mark Soine in April, wasn’t related to the City Council’s decision last week to deny him a pay raise. But he indicated that the general tone of recent city council meetings had taken their toll, and that he was looking forward to the new challenge.
The Edmonds Council — which is already searching for a replacement to fill a vacant council seat — will now be charged with also finding someone to fill the remaining 18 months of Haakenson’s term. The interim mayor doesn’t need to be a councilmember, Haakenson noted. It can be any registered voter who has lived in Edmonds for at least a year.