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Zareh Sinanyan leaves City Council to work for Armenian government

Zareh Sinanyan leaves City Council to work for Armenian government
Glendale City Council member Zareh Sinanyan announced Friday he would be vacating his seat on the council to work for the Armenian government. He will be in charge of the country's diaspora affairs. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Glendale City Council member Zareh Sinanyan is stepping down from his municipal post to accept a position with the Armenian government.

Sinanyan, first elected to the local council in 2013, announced his resignation on Friday, according to a city statement.

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“Zareh has had a very positive impact on City Council,” Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said. “He’s very analytical. He reads the material and understands the issues.”

Sinanyan will be in charge of Armenia’s diaspora affairs, reporting to the country’s prime minister, according to Armenian news outlets.

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In the role, he will be a liaison between Armenia and its communities around the world, according to Najarian, citing conversations he had with Sinanyan, who could not be reached for comment.

While council members have left their posts for higher positions in the past, it’s the first time Najarian can recall someone leaving to work for a foreign government.

Glendale’s four remaining council members can either appoint someone directly to Sinanyan’s vacant seat or hold a special election, as outlined in the city’s charter.

If council members decide to make an appointment, it must happen within 30 days. Otherwise, members must call for a special election, which will likely be held in November, Najarian said.

“There’s pros and cons to each decision,” said Najarian, adding that council members have not decided which route to take.

If someone is appointed, they will serve until the next election in March 2020.

An appointed candidate cannot be barred from running in the upcoming election, Najarian said.

If an election is held, the winner will serve until 2022, or until what would have been the end of Sinanyan’s term.

Sinanyan’s replacement will be discussed at the next City Council meeting on June 11, city spokesman Dan Bell said.

Sinanyan was the second most senior member on the council, after Najarian. Sinanyan was reelected to a second term in 2017, and served as mayor twice during his time on the council.

Currently, Sinanyan is also the president of the Hollywood Burbank Airport Authority.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Najarian would ask for a report back on City Council’s options to replace Sinanyan on June 18. City spokesman Dan Bell said the date changed to June 11 after the article’s publication.

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