Former Mayor Frank Quintero was appointed to hold a 14-month term on the City Council on Tuesday after six other former mayors turned down the city’s offer to apply for the job.
“They were very appreciative to be thought of,” said City Manager Scott Ochoa, but in the end, they said they didn’t have the time.
The pool of possible appointees grew to seven last week because city staff initially forgot Jim Perkins when they were asked by council to contact former mayors.
But the council's unanimous vote to give Quintero — out of office for less than two weeks — back his seat didn’t sit well with the fourth top vote-getter in this month’s municipal election, who said his finish at the polls should have been taken into consideration.
“Ignoring the will of the people is a slap in the face,” said Chahe Keuroghelian, who claimed the council’s plan to pick between a batch of former mayors was devised to keep him out of the selection process.
Just 356 votes separated Keuroghelian from newly elected Councilman Zareh Sinanyan, who came in third in the three-seat race.
The fourth seat filled on Tuesday by Quintero opened up a few weeks ago when former Councilman Rafi Manoukian stepped down midterm because he was elected city treasurer.
The open seat triggered strict city rules outlining how the position could be filled. The council had to choose between appointing a replacement or holding a costly special election.
Last week, the council chose to appoint a former mayor because they would have a quick learning curve when it came to city business and be unlikely to run in a future election, thus removing the advantage of incumbency at the polls.
Quintero, who was not present at the meeting because he is visiting South Korea, is set to stay on board the council until June 2014. At that time, the city plans to host an election for a council member that will fulfill the remaining 10 months left in Manoukian’s term.
If the winner of that election wants a full four-year term, they will have to run in the April 2015 election, when an additional council seat — the one currently held by Mayor Dave Weaver — will be up for grabs.
Several council members said they did not like the scenario, but were constrained by the city’s governing charter.
In addition to Quintero and Perkins, the council also invited former mayors John Drayman, Eileen Givens, Sheldon Baker, Rick Reyes and Bob Yousefian to try out for the job. Drayman is currently awaiting a criminal trial tied to embezzlement charges.
-- Brittany Levine, email@example.com