UPDATE: Take a hike, Aaron. The Snohomish County Council voted 4-0 this morning to urge county executive Aaron Readon to place himself on administrative leave while he remains the focus of a criminal investigation over allegations of violating campaign law and the use of taxpayer money to pay for some expenses incurred during his alleged affair with a county employee.
The walls are beginning to close in on Aaron Reardon. The embattled Snohomish County Executive may be asked today by the county council to step aside until this whole messy affair is cleaned up -- messy affair as in long-running affair with a county social worker and bodybuilder named Tamara Dutton.Last week we recounted The Seattle Times' spicy saga on Reardon's various junkets, Dutton in tow, to cities across the land. There were fancy hotels, dinners and drinks, endless phone calls to each other, even a faked headache, alleges Dutton, so Reardon could dodge a Democratic Leadership Council meeting to continue the wining and dining. And let's not forget the intimacy kit Reardon expensed at a plush D.C. hotel.
There was never any professional reason for Dutton to go on these trips with Reardon to Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other cities. It was just part of the affair -- which a law-enforcement source told The Times it most certainly was.
The two ended the relationship last year. Dutton is cooperating with authorities who are looking into how the married Reardon used his position and official business trip to carry on the affair.
She has plane tickets, telephone records, Facebook and text messages, and other documents that show that their romantic dealings were largely confined to workdays and on business trips across the country.
The Everett Herald is reporting today that Councilman Dave Somers believes that the Washington State Patrol's criminal probe has become a distraction for Reardon and others who are trying to run county government.
"The information coming out is really interfering with the day-to-day workings of Snohomish County," Somers said.
In a press release, Somers said, "We're in the middle of labor negotiations, deciding the future of our county's waste-hauling services contract and other important business. We can't afford these types of distractions right now."
A vote on a resolution urging Reardon to step aside is planned during the council's regularly scheduled 9 a.m. meeting.
The County Council, notes The Herald, has no authority to compel the executive to take administrative leave.
However, said Somers, being placed on leave is what would happen to any other person in county government under similar circumstances, Somers said.
If Reardon were to go on leave, his duties, under the county charter, would fall to Deputy Executive Gary Haakenson. Haakenson said he had no comment.
We'll keep you posted on how the council proceeds this morning.