Custom narrows Glendale mayoral field

When it comes to selecting the next mayor Tuesday night, City Council members will decide whether to follow an unofficial rule aimed at ensuring the appointment doesn’t mix with the upcoming election, or go against the grain.

If they follow the rule, which keeps sitting council members up for reelection out of the running, it would leave two possible contenders: Councilmen Dave Weaver and Rafi Manoukian. Both have served as mayor twice before, but often differ on city policy.

Council members said giving the title of mayor to someone up for reelection may increase their clout at the polls, an unfair advantage over others trying to run for office. But the rule isn’t a formal one, so council members are free to select whomever they choose.

Mayor Laura Friedman, who completes her one-year term this week, will be absent during the meeting as she visits Glendale’s sister city of Goseong, Korea to attend a dinosaur exposition. Every three years, the mayor of Glendale is invited to the event, which Friedman said is important to Goseong.

Without her, that leaves four on the dais to make the selection, which must prevail on a 3-1 vote. The mayor conducts council meetings, sets the agenda and represents the city at events for one year starting in April.

“We’re going to try and vote for a mayor, if we can get three votes,” Councilman Ara Najarian said Monday. “Three votes is not easy to get.”

If the council can’t agree, they will have to vote again at another meeting.

There’s a second unofficial rule that also impacts the decision: Council members who chair the Housing Authority or Redevelopment Agency are typically first in line for the mayor’s seat.

Councilman Frank Quintero chairs the Housing Authority and Manoukian chaired the Redevelopment Agency before it was dissolved in February by a state mandate. Quintero could not be reached for comment Monday.

Najarian said he was taking himself out of the running.

Of the two council members not up for reelection next year, Manoukian said he would like to serve as mayor, pointing out that he received more votes — 10,197 — than Weaver’s 9,903, according to city records.

Weaver declined to discuss his position on who should be the next mayor.

At last week’s council meeting, Friedman said her first term as mayor has helped her get to know the community on a deeper level.

“It’s been a very humbling experience,” she said.

Both Najarian and Manoukian said the next mayor should be a strong figure who can represent the city at events and control council meetings.

“It really is incredibly incumbent on the mayor to be strong, to represent the city, the council and not be afraid to take some heat,” Najarian said.

The Glendale Unified school board is also scheduled to reshuffle titles Tuesday.

Joylene Wagner currently serves as president, Christine Walters as vice president and Nayiri Nahabedian as clerk. If the board chooses to follow a traditional rotation, Walters would assume the presidency, Nahabedian the vice presidency and Mary Boger would become clerk.

“Someone can make a motion for us to observe the rotation, or someone can make a motion to nominate someone for an office,” Boger said.

The reorganization meeting will mark the close of an eventful term that included the kickoff of a $270-million school bond, allegations of racial profiling at Hoover High School and a suicide at Crescenta Valley High School.

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