For the first time since announcing he is stepping down as Snohomish County executive, Aaron Reardon is speaking publicly about his time in office and the accusations that he says forced him to resign.
“It’s been a great honor,” he said. “It’s one that I take very seriously, and one I always have taken seriously.”
Watch: Full interview with outgoing Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon
Once a rising star in Washington state politics, he now has a tarnished image, in part because of a criminal investigation by the Washington State Patrol into misuse of county funds.
In 2011, Tamara Dutton, also a county employee, claimed she and the executive carried out a six-year affair, some of it on county time and trips. Rather that come clean, Reardon denied wrongdoing and made no public comment.
Today, resigning in the middle of his third term, he denies ever misspending a county dime, but doesn’t deny an affair.
“I have made a decision one time in my life and took a wrong turn. By grace of God and the love of my wife, we got back on the highway,” he said. “We’ve never looked back.”
Reardon never faced any charges. When asked whether the affair was on county time, Reardon said he is a “24/ 7 elected official.”
“I’ve read some things in that patrol report that I found to be very disturbing, and candidly bizarre,” he said.
Then there are recent claims that one of Reardon’s closest aides made a series of public records requests, targeting employees who cooperated with the Washington State Patrol investigation. Kevin Hulten, 34, resigned earlier this month after sexually explicit images
were found on his county computer.
Reardon says he had no idea what Hulten was doing.
“I never directed them to do any of that,” Reardon said.
Reardon thanks the people of Snohomish County and says he will miss working directly with his constituents. But on the eve of his final day in office, he gives no hint about his life after public office.
“I’m an elected official today, I’m a private citizen on Saturday. I’m going to elect to keep that private for right now,” Reardon said.
The Snohomish County Council will select Reardon’s replacement on June 3 from three candidates nominated by local democrats. The apparent front runner is county Sheriff John Lovick.