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Council ponders empty seat

Members are weighing merits of appointing or electing final member.

April 04, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • Councilman Rafi Manoukian is set to take over as city treasurer. Although he ran unopposed, he battled against a ballot measure that would have changed the position into an appointed one. About 75% of Glendale voters did not support Measure A, according to unofficial results.
Councilman Rafi Manoukian is set to take over as city treasurer.… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

With a current City Councilman set to become city treasurer, that leaves an open seat on the dais that could be filled by either an appointment or special election.

Both options have their drawbacks — from costs to candidate pool — and likely members of the new City Council said they'll have to weigh all sides before making a decision. However, most said Wednesday they'd like to choose an option sooner, rather than later.

"I think it's our first order of business to get a full complement of council members," said Councilman Ara Najarian, who, according to unofficial election results released Wednesday morning, received the highest number of votes.

The issue is expected to be discussed at a City Council meeting on April 16, the first time the new council will sit at the dais together.

Councilman Rafi Manoukian is set to take over as city treasurer the day before. Although he ran unopposed, he battled against a ballot measure that would have changed the position into an appointed one. About 75% of voters did not support Measure A, according to unofficial results.

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If the council decides to hold a special election, the winner gets to keep the position for two years.

If council members choose an appointment, that person would be guaranteed one year on the Council. To retain the post, they would have to run again during the next election that includes Glendale voters, which could be summer 2014, said city spokesman Tom Lorenz. That term would also be one year.

To continue on the council for a full four-year term after that, the appointee would have to participate in the 2015 municipal election.

Although Najarian said he hasn't decided which way he will vote, he said he will keep three issues in mind — whether there's a pool of knowledgeable candidates for an appointment, which option will fill the seat most quickly, and a reluctance to appoint someone who could then run as an incumbent.

"I don't want to select someone and give them the crown of incumbency," Najarian said. "Gaining the mantle of incumbency is a long and cumbersome road."

But Councilman Dave Weaver, who was not up for reelection this year, said although his mind is not made up, he may factor in the cost of a special election.

"Special elections cost money and we're tight on money," Weaver said.

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