Coming in October: My Edmonds News TV will feature a video interview with Gary Haakenson in the October edition of our Edmonds Today video magazine.
There were toasts and roasts and even a few tears as Snohomish County threw a retirement party for County Executive Director and former-Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson at the County Administration Building in Everett Tuesday afternoon
Among those speaking was Snohomish County Councilmember Brian Sullivan, who described Haakenson as “a driven individual who always wanted to do the right thing.”
“That’s why Gary will be so missed,” Sullivan said. “Not only is he is likable, he solves a lot of problems at the same time.”
Several speakers described the key role that Haakenson played serving as the county’s long-term disaster manager for the SR 530 Slide following the devastating March 22 mudslide near Oso that claimed 43 lives.
County Executive John Lovick said that Haakenson “has a tremendous heart beat not just for this community but the people he had to deal with.”
Haakenson made a few remarks, thanking his wife Dolly for her patience during his many years as a public servant. He also acknowledging Lovick and his chief of staff Mark Ericks “for having faith and me and keeping me on” after Haakenson’s boss — former County Executive Aaron Reardon — resigned following a series of controversies. As for Oso, Haakenson said the tragedy “just changed everything for me,” adding that it was “a humbling and gratifying experience” to help the families of those affected.
Haakenson served on the Edmonds City Council from 1996-1999 and was Edmonds’ mayor from 2000-2010. He left in July 2010 to take a job as deputy director for Reardon, serving in that position until Reardon left May 31, 2013. After Lovick was appointed to serve out Reardon’s term, he asked Haakenson to stay on.