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City Council President Nury Martinez Could Serve As Acting Mayor As Garcetti Transitions Out

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez is shown sitting in a black leather chair behind a desk, smiling into the camera. Martinez wears a pink floral dress with short sleeves.
L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez
(Libby Denkmann
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With Friday’s announcement that L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has been nominated for the job of U.S. Ambassador to India, L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez will step in to serve as acting mayor if and when he resigns.

Garcetti’s current term will end in Dec. 2022 unless his nomination is confirmed by the U.S. Senate before then. The city council will then have the choice to appoint an interim mayor or call a special election.

However, with the primary election scheduled to be held in June 2022, it’s unlikely that councilmembers would choose to incur the high cost of a special election.

In a statement Friday, Martinez said she is “grateful” for the partnership she’s shared with Garcetti.

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“The city is designed to adapt and sustain change and we will press on, laser focused on delivering on our promise to rebuild a more resilient Los Angeles,” she said.

Speculation that Garcetti would be nominated for the India post has been ongoing for several months.

The official confirmation of his nomination comes during a rocky time: last month, his chief of staff was placed on administrative leave after making sexualized and disparaging Facebook comments. Members of Garcetti’s staff are still being deposed in a lawsuit by a former bodyguard to the mayor who claims Garcetti and his inner circle tolerated sexual harassment by Rick Jacobs, a top aide and major fundraiser.

Naomi Seligman said under oath that Garcetti was warned about Jacobs’ behavior. In his own deposition, Garcetti said he did not recall seeing any harassing behavior by Jacobs.

Garcetti, the son of former L.A. County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, was first sworn in as Mayor in June 2013, after representing Silver Lake and parts of Hollywood on the city council for about a dozen years. In 2017, he was re-elected with an overwhelming 81% of the vote — but it was an electoral victory marked by extremely low turnout.

Garcetti’s time at the helm of the nation’s second-largest city has been bookended by crises: when he ascended to the mayor’s office, L.A. was climbing out of a recession; his final year in office has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Garcetti said of his nomination that he will bring his “energy, commitment, and love for this city to my new role and will forge partnerships and connections that will help strengthen Los Angeles’ place on the world stage.”