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Special election measure goes to June ballot

Measure would eliminate rule requiring election when there's a council vacancy.

February 27, 2014|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

Come June, Glendale residents will be voting for a new council member to replace an appointed one and following a City Council decision this week, they will also be voting on whether to get rid of the city rules that required the early election in the first place.

The current rules for how to fill a seat on the dais after a council member leaves office before the end of their four-year term are costly, confusing, cause voter fatigue, and need to be changed, council members said at a City Hall meeting Tuesday.

“It’s costing us an arm and a leg and this is a way for us to eliminate that,” Mayor Dave Weaver said.

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The June special election, which comes 14 months after the April municipal election which filled three council seats, was prompted by former Councilman Rafi Manoukian leaving his spot on the council to become City Treasurer. The council in April appointed a former colleague, Frank Quintero, to take his place, but city rules state once that appointment is made, a special election must take place to replace the appointee at the next election the city could participate in.

That timeline had unintended cost consequences, though, forcing the city to spend roughly $230,000 on a special election consolidated with Los Angeles County in June. And whoever wins that election can only serve until April 2015.

The green-lighted ballot measure would nix the city rule that requires a special election. Instead, an appointee would serve the remainder of their given term until the next municipal election. In addition, the council could still call a special election within 120 days of a seat being vacated instead of making an appointment at all.

Initially, those who created the appointment rules did so in order to bring the issue back to the public for a vote as soon as possible, but their intent has been overshadowed by the commotion caused by seemingly back-to-back elections.

“The disruptive nature of what we’re having right now…it’s not very conducive to city government,” said Councilman Zareh Sinanyan, adding that he believed it was causing stress for staff and the number of elections could cause less people to come out and vote.

The ballot measure may not be the only one in June.

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