Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon has selected Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson as his new deputy executive.
Haakenson, a Northwest native, has served as Edmonds mayor for the past 11 years. Reardon called Haakenson a proven administrator who brings a mix of successful business and government experience to the position. “Gary understands the difficult economic climate facing local governments and knows the needs of our community,” Reardon said. “Gary has been successful in both business and government because he knows the importance of teamwork and he focuses on the needs of the customer.”
Haakenson, 62, began his business career as a manager at J.C. Penney before later co-founding Everett-based Zumiez, a national retail clothing chain with nearly 400 stores.
In 2000, he began his first term as mayor of Edmonds, with a population more than 40,000, before being re-elected to terms beginning in 2004 and 2008. As mayor of Edmonds, Haakenson is responsible for a $75 million annual budget and oversees 266 employees.
Prior to his election as mayor, Haakenson served on the Edmonds City Council for four years from 1996 through 1999.
“The switch from city to county government is a welcome challenge, but one that I feel confident in making,” Haakenson said. “I am grateful to Executive Reardon for the new opportunity and look forward to serving the residents of Snohomish County.”
Under Reardon, Haakenson will help oversee Executive Office departments, including Parks & Recreation, Human Services, Public Works and Planning & Development Services. He also will work directly with the Snohomish County Council and other individually elected officials.
“This administration looks forward to solving the challenges ahead as we continue to position ourselves for new job growth and an improved economy,” Reardon said. “Gary will be a valued asset to this administration.” Haakenson replaces Mark Soine, who was deputy executive for five years, and will earn about $147,000 annually. He will begin July 5 but will be involved in policy decisions at the county level during his transition.