The following remarks were made by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon at the conclusion of today’s 2013 State of the County Address:
Over the period of nearly a decade it has been my honor to serve as your County Executive. It has been a great pleasure to work on behalf of the community in which I was born and raised. Together we have tackled great challenges and built a prosperous pathway on which this community can continue to travel and capitalize on the tremendous opportunities for collective success. Together with our shared vision and through our ethic of hard work we have built the most competitive community in the state in which to invest. That investment will lead to growth that will once again change the face of Snohomish County in all manners possible. If properly nurtured – and I believe it will be – Snohomish Counties economy will undergo a change that will transform this county into a community of investment, opportunity and upward mobility for generations to come.
As all of you are aware, I have been the subject of recent media reports alleging, once again, misconduct by those working in the Executive Office. These allegations are a continuation of efforts by groups who oppose me and who rely upon false allegations in order to discredit me and undermine my ability to discharge my duties as your Snohomish County Executive.
False allegations surfaced even before I was reelected. As a result of these false allegations I became the subject of an exhaustive and lengthy criminal investigation just five days prior to the November 2011 election. That investigation came to an end when the Island County Prosecutor concluded that I had committed no crimes and exonerated me. Subsequently two recall petitions have been filed against me and both of those recall petitions have been dismissed. Unfortunately, I recently learned that a third recall petition will soon be filed.
It is impossible for me to describe to you the emotional and financial toll these relentless attacks have taken on my wife, my family and me. My wife and I have been required to spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees in order to defend against false and scurrilous allegations. These false allegations have also taken a tremendous toll on my marriage and our family life. And, candidly, I don’t know how much a family can take or should take. And, the time I have had to spend addressing the myriad of false allegations has distracted me from doing my job as your County Executive.
Enough is enough.
Accordingly, I am today making two announcements.
First, I am formally requesting an investigation by an outside, independent agency whose impartiality and objectivity cannot be questioned. The investigation should focus upon all allegations made against me and members of my staff as well as any other issues suggesting misconduct by other Snohomish county government officials. I pledge to fully cooperate in any such investigation. I believe the citizens of Snohomish County deserve to know the truth about their elected officials something that can only occur if the investigation is independently conducted.
Second, I tender my resignation as Snohomish County Executive effective May 31, 2013. This should provide the Democratic Party sufficient time to nominate three candidates to the Snohomish County Council for their consideration. And it should afford the County Council sufficient time to select an interim executive.
Between now and then I will continue to serve the good people of Snohomish County and will assist the interim executive with a seamless transition into his or her new job.
I thank you for the great honor and privilege you have bestowed upon me to work on your behalf for the past 15 years.
I will be making no further comment.