Snohomish County Councilmember Dave Somers on Tuesday called for County Executive Aaron Reardon to place himself on administrative leave while the Washington State Patrol completes its ongoing investigation into whether Reardon used his position and his official business trips to carry out a six-year affair with a county social worker.
My Edmonds News online news partner The Seattle Times reported last week that Tamara Dutton has plane tickets, telephone records, Facebook and text messages and other documents that show how her affair with Reardon happened largely during the workday and on business trips across the country. Detectives with the Washington State Patrol, which is investigating whether Reardon misused county funds, have no doubt that Dutton and Reardon had an affair, according to a law-enforcement source close to the investigation, the Times said.
You can read the complete Times story here.
In a new release sent Tuesday, Somers contends that taking leave would be the proper course of action for any County official or employee facing similar allegations. He said the County executive should not be treated differently than other employees and would therefore introduce a resolution asking his fellow councilmembers to support him during a public meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m. The Council does not have the authority under the Snohomish County Charter to place the executive on leave, the news release said.
It is not known how long the State Patrol investigation will continue, Somers said, adding he believes the distractions have become too overwhelming for Reardon during a time when the county is facing many challenges.
“The state Legislature will be cutting millions of dollars from our County budget, and those are big holes we may soon need to fix,” Somers said. “We’re in the middle of labor negotiations, deciding the future of our counties waste hauling services contract and other important business. We can’t afford these types of distractions right now.”
If Reardon agrees, his authorities and responsibilities would be transferred to Deputy County Executive Gary Haakenson “to the extent allowed by the county charter,” the news release said. “Gary is a proven administrator having served 12 years as the mayor of Edmonds,” Somers said. “He is fully capable of taking over for the executive until this matter can be settled.”
Somers stressed that he is not calling upon Reardon to resign but to step aside until the investigation concluded the allegations been resolved. “Aaron deserves a fair hearing once there results become available,” he said. “In the meantime, however, Snohomish County taxpayers deserve an executive who can focus solely on the important issues facing our families and communities.”