By Ted AYALA
The tension was palpable in the Glendale City Council chamber on Tuesday. In a heated debate, the City Council voted 3-2 against the appointment of Chahe Keuroghelian to the city’s Civil Service Commission. Councilmen Rafi Manoukian and Ara Najarian were in the minority.
Nominated to the position by Councilman Rafi Manoukian, Keuroghelian has ignited mistrust of his integrity from some quarters. In 2000 he was dismissed from his position as GPD spokesman when an allegation of threatening his wife with a gun was brought to light. He was eventually convicted of threatening his wife and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. In addition, allegations of business fraud and violating campaign finance disclosure rules have continued to dog him as recently as 2010.
Despite this, Councilman Rafi Manoukian stressed that Keurogelian has changed.
“Mr. Keuroghelian has come a long way these past 10 years,” said Manoukian.
One-time fellow council candidate Mike Mohill also stepped up to the dais to speak in favor of Keuroghelian’s appointment.
“He seems to care about the community,” he said. “[He’s] helping people always. I find that to be signs of integrity and character. I do admire him for that.”
“I’ve known Keuroghelian for 15 to 20 years,” said Weaver. “He’s a good man in many ways. But I do not think he is fit for the Civil Service Commission.” Weaver then cited Keuroghelian’s previous misdemeanor convictions as deterring him from voting in favor.
In addition, a bitterly contested election cycle, from which wounds have yet to heal, added to Weaver’s apprehension.
“He saw fit to make an uncalled for personal charge against me in a public forum attended by over one hundred people,” he said. “He called me home last night to tell me he really didn’t mean it, and that he hoped that we could shake hands when we walk by. But that charge he made against me is unforgivable. I wish [Keuroghelian] every success – but not on the Civil Service Commission.”
Councilman Ara Najarian, while mentioning that he has been among Keuroghelian’s fiercest critics, said he was willing to give him a second chance.
“He has made amends for his transgressions,” he said.
But Councilman Frank Quintero agreed with Weaver that Keuroghelian was not fit for the commission.
“I’ve known [Keuroghelian] the longest here,” he said. “While I do agree that the past is the past, I think I’d vote for him on any commission but the Civil Service Commission.”
After the vote, Manoukian expressed his hope that the vote had not been made because of “political purposes.” He then nominated Garo Ghazarian whose nomination will be voted upon at the next council meeting.