GLENDALE–During Tuesday’s Glendale City Council meeting–Rafi Manoukian took over the helm of the city by unanimously being selected as mayor by his colleagues on the city council. He replaces Gus Gomez–who led the city through a turbulent year marred by a divisive campaign to recall the mayor.
In his remarks–Manoukian–first-and foremost–thanked Gomez for his leadership and courage–and extended his service to the community by announcing that he will be setting up office hours the first Thursday of each month at the Farmers’ Market on Brand Boulevard.
"I’m pleased that my colleagues have given me the opportunity to lead the city," Manoukian told the audience–which included his parents–wife and three children. Manoukian called on members of the community to respect one another and "make sure that we leave Glendale a better place for our children."
"We need to embrace each other and respect our differences and look at our differences for strength–rather than use them as a reason for division," Manoukian said.
Fellow councilmember Frank Quintero nominated Manoukian–calling him an "excellent moral compass."
Manoukian went on to praise Gomez’s leadership style–by highlighting his patience during the troubled days of the recall effort–which stemmed from a decision last year to lower the American flag on April 24 to mark the 86th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
"I think the whole council came together to rally around Mayor Gomez," said Manoukian.
"Over the last year–I’ve had the pleasure of wearing many hats: those of prosecutor–of husband–of father–of mayor. I’m hanging up the mayor’s hat for now," the outgoing mayor told the audience gathered at City Hall.
Manoukian was joined by his wife Dzovig and three children–as well as his parents–brothers and other relatives. A large number of community members and activists also converged on City Hall to show support for the new mayor.
Manoukian was elected to the Glendale City Council on April 6–1999 in what became the largest Armenian-voter participated election in the city.
He campaigned on a theme of unifying the community and empowering newly naturalized Armenian-Americans to become active in the American political system.
During his term in office–Manoukian has been instrumental in addressing the needs of the community by introducing and supporting measure benefitting social services.