Council Bids Farewell to Devine



The Glendale City Council met on Tuesday night to conduct normal business and later to receive the official results of the most recent election and to swear in two members. Councilmember Ardy Kassakhian was re-elected to his second term on the Council; he was first elected as Glendale’s city clerk in 2005 and served in that capacity until his election to the Council in 2020. Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian was previously elected to the Council in 2015 and served one term. He was voted back onto the Council in the March 5 election.

In his comments upon joining the newly configured Council, Gharpetian emphasized his passion for “building ownership housing. We owe it to our younger generation to build housing they can afford that lets them stay in Glendale” and for joint projects between the city and the school district in order to maximize the use of open and green space, especially in south Glendale.

Councilmember Kassakhian thanked everyone involved in his campaign.

“Now that the election is over, I’m hopeful that we can try and work toward what I believe is our common goal: making Glendale safe, prosperous, inviting and a place we can all be proud of.” He concluded his remarks with this quote from Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” 

Earlier in the evening, the Council recognized the importance of emergency dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and proclaimed April as Armenian Genocide Commemoration and Armenian Heritage Month. Plans for the week of remembrance are posted on the city’s website at

Councilmember Paula Devine made her final comments before leaving the Council, reviewing her 10 years on the Council, the years before and offering her advice to the newly seated Council.

“Think like a teacher,” she said, recalling her years as a teacher before her retirement and focusing on volunteering in the city. Ask what you would want as a constituent and listen to everyone and respond to everyone, she implored her colleagues.

“The role of government is to make the lives of people better,” Devine said before listing some of the accomplishments she is most proud of: battery-operated leaf blowers she first suggested, which led to Glendale being declared the largest green zone in the country; the elimination of single-use plastics; the Grayson Repowering Project and the Scholl Canyon Biogas project, which will bring “clean and reliable energy to our residents for many years to come.”

Devine also thanked city staff. “You’ve been doing more with less for years,” she said.

To the Council, she said, “It’s about our residents and not ourselves – it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”

To the public, she urged, “Make your voices heard – you matter and, after all, the Council is here to make decisions that will impact your lives. So show up and fight for what you think is right.”

Devine concluded her comments, emotion choking her voice, then dropped her pen and exited the Council chambers.

Councilmember Ara Najarian announced that Earth Day is Monday, April 22 and that on that day riding on either Metrolink or the Metro bus and rail system would be free.

“You can take transit basically anywhere in the county and save Mother Earth,” said Najarian.

Returning to the debate of April 4 regarding the process of selecting a mayor, Najarian announced that he has officially notified the city that he is claiming “whistleblower status.” A whistleblower, he said, is someone who reports the violation of federal, state or local laws and there are protections that apply and that he is protected from retaliation under California labor law.

Mayor Elen Asatryan announced that she is moving public comments back to the beginning of the council meeting during the community events section of the council agenda for individuals willing to limit their comments to three minutes. She further indicated an ongoing interest in exploring other cities’ best practices for oral communications.

The council approved the purchase of a new helicopter to replace the fleet’s oldest. Glendale and Burbank have operated the Police Joint Air Support Unit in official partnership since 2007, sharing the costs equally. They operate three helicopters on a depreciation schedule of 20 years or 15,000 hours, whichever comes first. The helicopter being replaced is 26 years old. A second is nearing the end of its useful service.

Councilmember Dan Brotman asked for a report on the overall use of the helicopters, noting noise complaints the city receives.

Finally, the Council approved a contract extension with city attorney Mike Garcia on a vote of 3-1. The agreement is the first amendment to the agreement entered into initially when Garcia became the city attorney in 2001, extends his term of employment to Oct. 16, 2025 and increases his salary to $310,000 per year. The agreement delineates the city attorney’s benefits, including potential 12-month severance payments of $22,968.38 per month.

Councilmember Najarian announced his intention to vote against the agreement.

“I’m extremely dissatisfied with the performance of Mr. Garcia and will not vote to approve his extension because I believe he let the Council down and he let the city down when we needed strong and accurate legal advice,” Najarian said of his reasons behind not voting for the agreement. He then claimed that the three votes in favor of the contract extension were the same three votes (councilmembers Brotman, Asatryan and Kassakhian) that voted in Asatryan as mayor.

Garcia responded from the podium, explaining that he had been involved in contract talks since last July and that terms had been agreed upon at the end of March.

Councilmember Brotman summarized his deliberations in the mayoral selection process.

“We had a beer a week before the mayor selection and I said, ‘You know what you said is not true [allegations Brotman raised about comments Najarian made in an interview last year regarding concerns about the school district’s policies on gender identity] and what I suggest you do is make a statement, acknowledge that there is no factual basis for your claims, apologize for making them, and agree to work with your colleagues and the community through a truth and reconciliation process so that everyone in the community can discuss their differences on the basis of facts. If you do these three things, I’ll abstain from voting on mayor until you two decide who will be mayor this year and next year.”

The Council, including newly-elected councilmember Vartan Gharpetian, was sworn in at 8 p.m.

The next meeting of the Glendale City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30.