Coady proposes direct election of mayor

By Curtis Riggs | November 19, 2008

Four-year terms not the real issue
CAREFREE – Town Council-man Bob Coady says the Town Council is dealing with the wrong election issue by proposing four-year staggered terms for council members instead of the direct election of the mayor.

Earlier this month the Town Council approved a resolution calling for four-year staggered terms for council members. This measure will be on the ballot of the March 10 primary election in Carefree along with the actual candidates who are running for office. Carefree citizens will decide if they want to elect their Town Council members to serve for four years and to have their terms be staggered to preserve continuity.

“If people are doing a good job then after two years their chances of being re-elected are very good,” Coady said. “But if they aren’t doing a good job then they shouldn’t be elected for four years and have no challenge to what they are doing.”

Coady believes in preserving the way Carefree officials have been elected since 1984 because the system works well. He sees no reason to change it. Citizens’ typical aversion to recall efforts is another reason Coady believes in keeping two-year terms.

“I think it is important. People are definitely opposed to four-year terms in the e-mails I have received,” he said.

Coady said he has received between 60 and 75 e-mail responses on the issue at his Carefree Matters website.

“People say they would rather stay at two-year terms, but also say there should be the direct election of the mayor,” he said.

Carefree is one of the few communities in Arizona in which the Town Council appoints the mayor. Paradise Valley is currently considering a proposal for citizens to elect their mayor instead of by Town Council appointment.

“Picking the mayor from seven other guys does not give citizens a voice in government,” Coady said.

Other Carefree Town Councilman talked about keeping continuity on the council by having longer, staggered terms when they approved the resolution calling for four-year terms by a 6 – 1 vote (Coady dissenting) at its Nov. 5 meeting.

Mayor Wayne Fulcher talked about the council having more time to “concentrate on the business of running the town” instead of having to run for office every two years. To Fulcher when someone volunteers to do something they should make a four-year commitment.
“That way they can focus more on what they are doing,” he said.