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Burbank Snubs Spanos in Mayoral Vote

City Council: Wiggins is chosen over the vice mayor, whose behavior in recent months is questioned by colleagues.

May 02, 1996|STEVE RYFLE | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

BURBANK — Breaking with tradition, the Burbank City Council elected Bill Wiggins mayor Wednesday, bypassing Vice Mayor Susan Spanos.

Wiggins' election to the largely ceremonial post was a slap at Spanos, the only woman on the council. Council members acknowledged that according to long tradition, the sitting vice mayor normally becomes mayor.

"My feeling is that it's not in the best interest of the city of Burbank to have Susan as a mayor," Councilman Bob Kramer, who nominated Wiggins, said before the meeting.

"The reason certainly has nothing to do with her politics or the way she votes, or the fact that she's a woman. It's strictly based on her behavior for the past year, both inside and outside the council chambers," Kramer said.

Outgoing Mayor David Golonski, who provided the necessary third vote to elect Wiggins, said the decision was "not easy."

"There's a reason why I didn't support you for mayor, and it really focuses on one word," Golonski said to Spanos during the meeting. "That word is respect. Respect for the people that you serve, respect for the staff and the employees in the city, and it's respect for the power of the office.

"I haven't seen that respect, and it's been very troublesome to me," Golonski said.

Spanos was nominated for mayor by Councilman Ted McConkey, but she drew only one additional vote for the post--her own.

Spanos said during the meeting that the past 3 1/2 months have been "the most painful of my life, for a number of reasons that I can't get into at this time.

"Yet despite that, I believe that I've carried out my duties . . . to the best of my ability," Spanos said.

Spanos proceeded to quote a lengthy biblical passage, which she said had helped her "come to grips" with her personal difficulties recently.

Wiggins said he was surprised and flattered by his election to his second term in three years.

But in an interview after the meeting, Spanos said she believes Wiggins, who is entering the final year of his council term and who has considered running for the state Legislature in the past, sought the visibility of the mayorship to further his political career.

"I don't believe respect for the office of mayor and those around me have played a large or significant role in the council's desire to pass me up for mayor," Spanos said.

"This role for [Wiggins] will serve as a fine springboard," she said.

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