Uncertain what lies ahead, Haakenson reflects on three years as Deputy County Executive

Gary Haakenson
Gary Haakenson

When he agreed six months ago to speak at the June 4 Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary Club meeting, Deputy Snohomish County Executive Gary Haakenson couldn’t have predicted that he would be talking about the resignation of his boss, former Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, and his own uncertain future.

And yet, that is exactly where the former three-term Edmonds mayor found himself Tuesday morning, giving Daybreakers Club members the inside scoop on life at Snohomish County in the wake of Reardon’s departure and the County Council’s appointment of Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick to take Reardon’s place.

“At that time (that the speech was scheduled) nobody knew that my boss was going to resign…nobody knew that his last day was going to be last Friday, and yet, here I am,” Haakenson told the group, which meets for breakfast each Tuesday at the Edmonds Yacht Club. “Last Friday, I was the Deputy Executive Director for Snohomish County. Saturday and Sunday, I was the Acting Executive for Snohomish County. Yesterday I was a nobody.”

And when he says he is now a “nobody,” Haakenson means it. Lovick brought in his own deputy executive director, former Bothell Police Chief and U.S. Marshal Mark Ericks, and unless Haakenson is offered a special assignment, he likely to be finished at the county by early July.

It was three years ago — in June 2010 — that Haakenson announced to the Edmonds City Council that he was resigning in the middle of his third term as Edmonds mayor to serve as Reardon’s assistant. He described his time working for the county executive, who announced in February that he was leaving his post May 31 following a series of controversies, as “interesting, to say the least.”

Reardon almost didn’t run for a third term, Haakenson confided to the group, and when the two of them discussed it, “I told him that the third term would be hardest. For me it was. I know what it’s like… inevitably as a politician you’ve created enemies and your enemies exponentially get bigger, and the ones that really don’t like you get louder.”

To make matters worse, Reardon and his staff “had a battle with the Everett Herald that started before I got there and it was relentless. There was no letting up on either side. All of those things just welled up and never got any better.”

When asked what the future holds for his former boss, Haakenson said, “I can’t say that he won’t be back in politics. I just don’t know.”

Reardon is “a very private guy,” Haakenson continued. “He doesn’t share a lot of personal information, even with me. I know that he’s working now, but I don’t know what his job is. It’s not in politics.”

As for his own status, Haakenson describes it as “the weirdest place I’ve ever been in,” adding, “I fully intend to take the summer off because when I left Edmonds to work for the county, I left … on a Friday and went to work for the county on a Monday.”





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