Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon resigned Thursday at the end of his “state of the county” speech, saying his family has suffered enough from the political controversy surrounding his office.
“I tender my resignation as Snohomish County Executive effective May 31, 2013,” announced Reardon.
The embattled county leader said his last day will be May 31 because he wants to give the Democratic Party enough time to pick his replacement.
The county executive’s third term was set to end Jan. 2016, but Reardon has recently found himself at the center of another controversy involving reports of staffers making public records requests and taking other actions targeting the executive’s political enemies.
“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,” said Reardon. “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.”
A statement last week from Reardon said a member of his staff was behind the public records requests. The statement said the staffer’s actions were his own and not at Reardon’s direction.
Aliases and various identities were created for the records requests, The Daily Herald reported last week. Anonymous web pages, fake Twitter accounts and spoof email addresses were used to undermine Reardon critics.
On Wednesday, the Snohomish County Council removed some authority from his office following the reports regarding Reardon’s staff.
Reardon was also previously investigated by the Washington State Patrol based on accusations that he used country resources on his campaign and while having an affair. Reardon was not charged and said the allegations against him were false.
“That investigation came to an end when the Island County Prosecutor concluded that I had committed no crimes and exonerated me,” said Reardon. “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.”
Reardon said Thursday, “enough is enough.”
“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,” said Reardon.
“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.”
Reardon closed by announcing his resignation and requesting an independent investigation of allegations made against himself and his staff.
You might also be interested in:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.