Council President Tony Young to Vacate Seat, Work for Red Cross

City will hold special election to determine replacement councilmember

San Diego City Council President Tony Young will be stepping down from his role with the city and taking a high-level position with the American Red Cross.

Young, who represents District 4, will take the position of CEO of the American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties, leaving an open seat up for special election.

The American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Cross said on Thursday Young had indeed accepted the job and that his base salary will be $190,000. That's more than double the $75,000 a year that his City Council job pays -- an amount he's ridiculed in the past.

He starts on January 2, 2013.

"This is a special opportunity," Young said. "And I intend to put my entire being into focusing on this organization and trying to make it an even better place."

Since Young has more than one year left in his term, city charter requires that a special election be held within 90 days of his vacancy.

The Registrar of Voters estimated that the election would cost upwards of $350,000 dollars, unless it's consolidated with a special State Senate election, such as the one to fill Juan Vargas’ seat.

"It's a great opportunity for the residents of the 4th district, like the residents of any other district, to be able to identify their next leader," Young said of the upcoming special election. "And just like what's gonna happen with Juan Vargas' seat, this is an opportunity for our community to select their next leader, and I'll be supportive of that entire process."

The last time the city had a special election was in January of 2006 to determine Districts 2 and 8. That election cost $615,837 and about 142,500 people voted, said Bonnie Stone, Deputy Director of Elections and Information Services with the city.

In addition to the election to represent District 4, the council will also have to vote on a new president. Councilman Todd Gloria, who currently represents District 2 told NBC 7 that he will run. It is not yet clear if any of the other councilmembers will run against him for the position.

The move shakes up the council make-up just days after Democrats won a majority on the council. Young is a Democrat as well.

“It does create sort of odd timing, but better now than before the election,” San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee said.

Tony Young won his seat by special election in 2005, after the unexpected death of incumbent Charles Lewis. Former councilwoman Donna Frye, state Assemblyman Ben Hueso, and former councilman Ralph Inzunza all won their seats during special elections.

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