Councilmembers share thoughts about mayor’s retirement, next steps

Edmonds city councilmembers were taken by surprise when Mayor Gary Haakenson unexpectedly announced his resignation Tuesday night, but on Wednesday they were quick to offer their well wishes, as well as their thoughts for next steps in filling the position being vacated by the city’s three-term mayor. Haakenson, who was named by Snohomish County Executive Director Aaron Reardon as the county’s Deputy Executive, will start his new job on July 2.

“Gary had lead our city with dedication, humor and a unique understanding of our citizens,” said Adrienne Fraley-Monillas. “We all wish him well in his new adventures.”

Added Diane Buckshnis: “Gary is a very astute and brilliant individual, and Mr. Reardon will be lucky to have him on his team.  The timing of his move will cause a bit of commotion, but all we can do is pull together and move forward in the direction we have been planning with the selection of a new City Council person, the creation of a small, citizen-based levy committee and now the appointment of a interim Mayor.

“While Gary’s shoes will be difficult to fill, I am sure many qualified applicants will apply and hopefully the person selected will receive the full support from staff, the City Council, and the wonderful citizens of this City. A discussion of a City Manager position might be something we will now consider in 2011.”

“I have a deep personal respect and appreciation for Gary,” D.J. Wilson said. “He has been wonderful to watch and learn from as a new council member. He was a mentor to me in many ways, particularly when he wasn’t trying to be. This is a good move for Gary, but an even better move by Executive Reardon. In many ways, Gary is very well suited for the challenges of this new position. I expect he’ll do very well.”

“Mayor Haakenson has set the bar high in his service to the people of Edmonds,” noted Councilmember Strom Peterson. “His commitment to the citizens that elected him was always evident in his management of city operations and staff and his ability to communicate with all of us. We, as a council, have an awesome responsibility to appoint a qualified candidate who will represent all of Edmonds, as Gary has done over the years.”

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