By Brian CHERNICK
In order to comply with the California Voter Participation Rights Act (CVPRA), Glendale City Council voted Tuesday night to move the city’s local election date to March 2020 to align with statewide primaries, a move which extends some of the councilmember’s terms by 11 months.
The change, which is mandated by legislation passed in 2015, will shift election days from 2019 and 2021 to 2020 and 2022, respectively. The expressed goal of CVPRA is to increase voter turnout in local elections and only affects cities whose local election turnout rates are lower than statewide elections. Glendale’s local election turnout averaged almost 23% over the last four elections, which pales in comparison to general election turnout that averaged 53% over the same period.
A consequence of moving elecctions is the need to extend the terms of currently elected officials. The city clerk’s office proposed a number of options to council to either move elections to coincide with California’s statewide primary in March or to the general election in November, with council unanimously voting to move to March, minimizing the impact of extended terms.
Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan argued that holding elections in November would have been more costly for advertising and risked local measures and initiatives getting drowned out by national issues.
Councilmember Paula Devine initially supported moving to November in order to mitigate costs and as an effort to maximize voter turnout, the chief cause for CVPRA. Devine ultimately voted with her colleagues for there to be unity in the decision.
The council also voted to appoint Assistant City Manager Yasmin Beers as interim city manager as it continues to seek a permanent replacement for Scott Ochoa who is set to resign on Nov. 17.
The council agreed to a 12% increase in Beers’ compensation to account for the added responsibilities and tasks she will be taking on. The increase – of about $2,400 a month – brings bring her salary to $23,167 a month.
Beers has served as Glendale’s deputy city manager and assistant city manager for over 17 years.