Aaron Reardon, protector of maidens everywhere.
The winter holidays found our hero concerning himself with the honor of baristas --so easily led astray by the


Reardon Watch: Protector and Defender of Our Virtue

Aaron Reardon, protector of maidens everywhere.
The winter holidays found our hero concerning himself with the honor of baristas--so easily led astray by the promise of big tips in return for skimping on the clothing while serving up lattes. Aaron Reardon ended his year making it illegal for coffee mistresses to wear thongs and pasties in their roadside coffee huts. As of yesterday, the women must not don at least a bikini.

Purity crisis averted. Almost.

A closer-to-home sex scandal is dogging Aaron this week. Obviously, a man such as this lives above reproach when it comes to his interactions with employees (and, unfortunately for me, fans), but apparently a now-former member of his staff wasn't so noble.

Reardon fired Snohomish County Planning and Development Services Director Craig Ladiser last August after, at a golf tournament, Ladiser downed a couple whiskey shots, unzipped his pants, and told a woman "I'll show you the size of my tee."

That might have been the end of it had it been a one-time incident. But this week the Seattle Times obtained records suggesting that Ladiser presided over a department where he hired unqualified pals to high level positions, favored men for promotions, stood idly by while women and minorities were harassed, and exchanged photos of topless women with a pal. How could such a deviant have gotten past our knight in shining armor?

According to Reardon spokesperson Christopher Schwarzen, the office that investigates employment complaints keeps the Executive in the dark about the issue so that anyone who is unhappy with the results of the investigation can appeal to him, Solomon-like. Schwarzen says all the formal complaints against Ladiser were dismissed when the investigator couldn't corroborate the stories, and no one appealed their case to Aaron.

But that's not the only thing that didn't look so good in the Times report. Ladiser was fired from the county in 1994. It was Aaron who took him back six years ago. In the intervening decade, Ladiser worked as Deputy Director for the Department of Construction and Land Use here in Seattle. "I am delighted to have found a manager of this caliber for Planning and Development Services," Aaron said when he hired him back to Snohomish, with council approval.

He knew about Ladiser's earlier firing, Aaron says now, but it didn't have anything to do with Ladiser's apparent propensity for Jack Daniels and nudity. "What I was told by my Deputy Executive at that time, was that Craig was let go in '94 because the Master Builders of Snohomish County did not like him and wanted him gone as he was too close to the environmental community," Aaron explains by phone. "That was not a reason that outweighed the accolades."

I knew he'd have a good explanation. Though it is a little strange that a guy fired for his crappy relationship with the Master Builders in 1994 would then be fired for flashing his junk at a Master Builders golf tournament, isn't it? That organization hasn't responded to a message yet and Aaron's office is sticking by their story.

But surely if our hero had known, he'd have stepped in earlier.

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