Snohomish County Deputy Executive Mark Ericks resigns

EVERETT — Snohomish County Executive John Lovick has announced a change at the top of his administration.

Lovick on Tuesday said he had accepted the resignation of Deputy Executive Mark Ericks, effective Thursday. In Ericks’ place as second-in-command, the executive promoted Lenda Crawford, the next-highest-ranking official in his administration.

“With Lenda assuming her new responsibilities as Deputy Executive, I look forward to meeting with department heads and other elected officials to gather input on how the Executive Office can best collaborate with each of them to better serve our residents,” Lovick said in a prepared statement.

Ericks was part of the incoming team when Lovick was appointed executive in mid-2013, following the resignation of Aaron Reardon.

To join the county, Ericks left a job as the presidentially appointed U.S. marshal for the Western District of Washington. A Democrat, he also had served as an elected House member from Washington’s 1st District. His law enforcement career included time as Bothell’s police chief and as a Bellevue homicide detective.

At the county, Ericks was a fierce supporter of Lovick, his longtime friend, but clashed with most County Council members. The relationship became poisonous over the past year.

Ericks has been the subject of a workplace investigation into comments toward council members, including a reference to shooting someone “if it wasn’t for jail time.”

That investigation found no evidence that Ericks seriously intended to harm anyone, but it did document a propensity toward letting loose in public with intemperate comments. It also triggered a criminal investigation into whether Ericks had illegally pressured county planning staff to approve permits for developers. Detectives concluded he had not.

Lovick is running for re-election this fall against Dave Somers, a fellow Democrat and chairman of the County Council.

In announcing Ericks’ departure, Lovick took a swipe at the council.

“Together with Lenda we will work on our 2016 proposed budget, which will include restoring reserves depleted by the County Council and addressing wage growth for our many dedicated and talented employees,” the executive said.

Crawford joined Snohomish County in April 2014 to oversee day-to-day operations, including public works, human resources and Paine Field. She has been serving as the county’s interim finance director.

Crawford has more than 30 years of experience in local government, nonprofits and businesses.

Before coming to work for Snohomish County, she served as deputy director of Seattle’s Transportation Department.

Crawford also has served on numerous boards and committees including the Future of Flight Foundation, Hopelink, Washington Finance Officers Association and the Redmond Chamber of Commerce.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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