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Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson picked for county deputy executive

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By Scott North
Herald Writer
EDMONDS — The mayor of Edmonds has agreed to become Snohomish County's next deputy executive.
Gary Haakenson will officially start his new job July 5, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said Tuesday evening.
Haakenson, in his third term as Edmonds' mayor, will replace Mark Soine, who resigned as Reardon's top assistant after a series of management missteps.
Reardon said he expected Haakenson would be announcing his decision to city officials Tuesday evening. He brings the mix of skills and experience that the county needs in the deputy executive position, Reardon said.
“Number one, Gary understands the financial reality that is facing local government at this time,” Reardon said. “He also knows Snohomish County very well. He has been proven both in business as well as a government administrator.”
Haakenson also is known for his collaborative leadership style and the emphasis he places on teamwork to solve problems, Reardon said.
Haakenson was first elected to the Edmonds City Council in 1996. He's been mayor since 2000, and earned re-election to the post in 2004 and 2008, according to the city's website.
He has a degree in business administration from Seattle University and, prior to work in government, had a career in retail, including starting his own clothing business.
Haakenson knows the importance of understanding the needs of the customer, Reardon said.
Haakenson will replace Soine, whom Reardon hired in 2005. Soine previously had worked as a city attorney for Everett but had limited experience managing people. His time on the job was marked by frequent confrontation with others in county government.
Soine's last official day on the job is Thursday. He announced his resignation in April.
Soine in February publicly took the blame after an independent review found shoddy record-keeping at the county's equal-employment-opportunity office. The county employee Soine supervised resigned.
Later, the Department of Information Services, which Soine had supervised until early this year, became the focus of a sharply critical audit that found what the auditors described as an unusual lack of communication between the department's managers and their customers in county government offices.
Soine also played a key role in how the county handled its investigation of misconduct by former planning director Craig Ladiser. Ladiser was fired last summer after allegations that he got drunk at a building industry golf tournament and pressed his bare genitals against a woman who works as a lobbyist.
Newly released county records feature allegations that the woman was pressured by building industry officials not to formally complain about what happened. Ladiser is awaiting trial, charged with indecent exposure and fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation.
Story tags » EdmondsCounty executive

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