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Council, School Board Members Take Office : Government: Larry Zarian is elected mayor for a third time. Jane Whitaker will lead the district trustees.


GLENDALE — For the third time in his 10 years on the City Council, Larry Zarian took the gavel this week as mayor of Glendale.

Calling it "the beginning of a brand new adventure," Zarian will lead a council that, for the first time in decades, has a majority of freshmen.

Zarian, 55, a retired businessman, served as the city's first mayor of Armenian descent in 1986-87 and again in 1990-91.

The council held an election for the largely ceremonial one-year post Monday, capping a ritual in which three retiring council members left and newly elected members took oaths of office.

Joining Zarian and Eileen Givens, who was elected two years ago, are Richard M. (Rick) Reyes, Sheldon Baker and Mary Ann Plumley.

Also sworn in during the evening ceremonies before an overflow crowd were the five trustees of the Glendale Unified School District. For the first time in the city's history, all the board members are women. Newly elected to the board are Jeanne Bentley and Lynda Rocamora. They joined Jane Whitaker, who was reelected to a fourth term, and veterans Blanch M. Greenwood and Sharon Beauchamp.

Board members later unanimously selected 12-year trustee Whitaker as president, replacing June Sweetnam who did not seek reelection.

Whitaker had been the board's clerk, a position given to Bentley. Beauchamp was named vice president, taking over for Charles Whitesell, also an incumbent who did not seek another term.

Beauchamp, who is serving her fourth term, was one of two board members who did not face reelection this year. She believes this year's board will have to tackle several pressing issues.

"This is going to be a year of pulling the district together . . . because we don't have a lot of money," Beauchamp said. "What we do this year will lay the groundwork for future years."

The week of activities after the April 6 election ended Tuesday when Givens was elected chairwoman of the Redevelopment Agency, which consists of the five City Council members. The position puts her next in line, in the traditional order of succession, to the mayor's post in 1994.

Reyes, the top vote-getter in the election, was named vice chairman of the agency.

The position of chairman of the Community Housing Authority is expected to be filled at Tuesday's council meeting, City Clerk Aileen B. Boyle said.

All three new council members said strong organization and a slew of volunteers, along with with lots of financial and business backing, were keys to their success in beating a dozen other hopefuls in last week's election. Each estimates having spent at least $30,000 in the campaign.

For the first time in almost 30 years, the winners beat out the strongest advocates of homeowners' rights, although Reyes, who was not considered a homeowners' candidate, was endorsed by the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council.

During their first public meeting at an informal forum last week, all five council members said they will call on the volunteers mobilized during the election to help resolve the city's most critical issue--a smaller budget.

The council must decide by June where to trim expenditures in the almost $300-million budget, which could include cuts in services and further reductions in the number of city employees. More than 80 positions have been eliminated in the last 18 months, largely through attrition and a hiring freeze. But there were also a few layoffs.

"We are going to have to be very creative and empower the community to help resolve issues," Reyes said during the forum.

The retired Glendale police officer, a first-time campaigner, called on election volunteers to stay involved in the city's politics.

Plumley, a real estate agent and veteran community activist, pledged to use all the resources of the city, including the community college, school district, businesses and residents.

Baker, an attorney who served 16 years as a school and college district trustee, said he was most impressed during his council campaign by the number of volunteers who worked to get him elected.

Baker managed all three of Zarian's council campaigns but said he found a huge difference between running a campaign and being a candidate.

"As a candidate, you suddenly realize the massive number of volunteers and the time and money involved," he said. "The number of people committed to this city is really kind of awesome."

Zarian said the election "brought out a lot of people who had never before been involved." He urged residents and business leaders to remain active.

Times correspondent Tommy Li contributed to this article.

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