Glendale City Council looks to former mayors in vacant seat

Officials plan to ask six former mayors — including John Drayman, who was indicted on embezzlement charges last year — if they would be open to filling the City Council seat left vacant by Rafi Manoukian, who was recently elected to the city treasurer post.

The requests will come after the City Council on Tuesday proposed a plan to appoint a former mayor on an interim basis — even after some on the dais acknowledged that residents would prefer a special election.

In addition to Drayman, the group of six, who still live in Glendale, includes Sheldon Baker, Frank Quintero, Rick Reyes, Eileen Givens and Bob Yousefian.

The likelihood of a Drayman would be appointment is far fetched, but Quintero — who had a send-off reception last week — and Baker have already expressed interest in the position, officials said.

Several council members said they wanted to select someone who would promise not to run to keep the seat in order to prevent giving an appointee the power of incumbency at the polls.

And while the council largely remained mum on who they might favor, there appears to be early interest in Quintero, the most recent mayor who has said publicly that he does not intend to run for local office again.

Mayor Dave Weaver said he would support Quintero over Baker, who left the council more than 10 years ago.

"[Quintero] knows where all the skeletons are hidden in the closet currently, where Sheldon doesn't know the skeletons that have been hidden in the last decade," Weaver said.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman also said she could support Quintero, who she described as a mentor when she was sworn in Monday night.

Under the plan, the appointee could only hold office until June 2014, when statewide offices will be up for election.

To keep the seat, the appointee would have to run against other candidates for a 10-month term. The winner of the June 2014 election would then have to run for re-election in April 2015 for a full four-year term.

The city could limit the appointee's term to the Los Angeles County election in November, but at a cost of roughly $800,000, including elections and translation fees, it was deemed too expensive, City Atty. Mike Garcia said.

A June 2014 election is expected to cost about $320,000, about the same as a special election. A special election for the seat would have to occur between July and September, according to city rules.

Officials said although residents seem to prefer elections rather than appointments — noting the failure of a measure on the most recent ballot that would have changed the elected city treasurer position into an appointment — they didn't want to host an election in the summer due to fears of low voter turnout.

Fewer than a quarter of the city's registered voters cast a ballot during the April 2 municipal election.

Officials must make a decision by May 27, but prefer a shorter timeline so the fifth council member is in place before budget study sessions begin.

"We do want to fill this as quickly as we possibly can," City Manager Scott Ochoa said.

After the meeting, Chahe Keuroghelian — who came in fourth in the City Council race, 356 votes behind newly elected Councilman Zareh Sinanyan — said he should be appointed to the position.

Weaver — first elected to the council in 1997 — lost his reelection bid in 2005 when he came in fourth, but was appointed that year to fill a seat left vacant by a councilman who also stepped down midway through his term.

"The people have already spoken," Keuroghelian said.



Council members are weighing several different dates and costs:

Appointee could serve a seventh-month term through November 2013, when a Los Angeles County-run election that Glendale could join is scheduled to occur. Cost estimate: $800,000

Appointee could serve 14-month term until June 2014, when a statewide election that Glendale could join is scheduled to occur. Cost estimate: $320,000.

Winner of either election would serve through April 2015, the next municipal election

A special election for a two-year term could be held between July and September. Cost estimate: $300,000 to $350,000


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