The administration of Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon has the interminable feel of a Jerry Lewis movie. On Feb. 21, a defiant Reardon announced his resignation. The attendant relief, the promise of restoring moral authority and integrity to county government, surged. But there was, well, an addendum.
Reardon said his resignation — unofficial since he has yet to submit anything in writing — would be effective May 31. Pray tell three months and a week? Reardon said that it was necessary to provide the “Democratic Party sufficient time to nominate three candidates to the Snohomish County Council. And it should afford the County Council sufficient time to select an interim executive.” Only if the party and council are on Ambien.
A meeting of legislative district chairs and precinct committee officers (PCOs) to nominate three candidates shouldn’t take more than three weeks, let alone three months. Conveniently, May 31 also passes the May 17 filing-week deadline, muzzling voters and ensuring that Reardon’s appointed successor not stand for election until 2014.
Billye Brooks-Sebastian, chair of the Snohomish County Republican Party, provides some bipartisan wisdom. “It steals the voice of the voters,” she said. Just as significant, Brooks-Sebastian said, “it prolongs the path to moving forward.” Indeed, Reardon, already a weak voice on the Sound Transit Board, will be the face of Snohomish County at ST meetings on March 28, April 25, and May 23. Reardon will be the face of Snohomish County a month from now. Two months from now. Drawing a $147,000 annual salary while treading water is the antithesis of moving forward.
Each of Reardon’s reasons for delay is meritless. The consensus choice of county Democrats, Sheriff John Lovick, will quickly bring gravitas and integrity to the office. Neither Lovick nor Rep. John McCoy, another seasoned candidate, requires Reardon’s hand-holding. Neither would recoil facing voters in the fall nor deny citizens a say. Sounding like Huey Long minus the charm, Reardon said, “I will continue to serve the good people of Snohomish County, and will assist the interim executive with a seamless transition.” The good people appreciate contrition. The good people want to stanch the bleeding and make the county relevant again. The county executive should submit his resignation letter, clean off his desk and vamoose.
Prior to Reardon’s Feb 21 announcement, The Herald Editorial Board opined, “Reardon, in the end, doesn’t matter. What matters is restoring the people’s faith, serving the public interest and learning from the executive’s (unvirtuous) example. The integrity vacuum will be filled.” Let’s fill it now.