In a unanimous decision, the Los Angeles City Council voted for Paul Krekorian to take over as its president Tuesday following the resignation of Nury Martinez, who was heard making racist comments in a leaked audio recording that drew the nation’s attention to the city government.
Kerkorian becomes the first Armenian-American to hold the position.
Krekorian, who represents Council District 2, an area stretching from Toluca Lake to the edge of Verdugo Mountain Park in Sun Valley, was elected in 2009 and served for years as chairman of the city’s Budget and Finance Committee. Previously, Krekorian was a California State Assembly member.
While Krekorian thanked his fellow city council members for their faith in him, he noted the serious conditions in which this vote occurred.
“The city is not celebrating now, the city is grieving. And we are working overwhelmingly together to try to overcome what we experienced over the last week,” Krekorian said during the meeting.
His predecessor, Martinez, resigned from her seat on Council District 6 last week, two days after stepping down from her post as president after the recording came to light, igniting outrage across the city.
Krekorian said he plans to reduce the powers of the council president in light of recent events, and “the era of unilateral decision making and consolidating power – that ends today.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement Tuesday that Krekorian has his full support.
“Paul is a committed and conscientious leader who can bring a smart, collaborative, and effective approach to a painful moment when Angelenos deserve steady leadership on the City Council,” Garcetti said. “I am confident that he’ll assemble a leadership team of bridge builders, and I’ll work closely with the Council to help heal the wounds caused by the hateful words of a few.”