Coady begins work on direct election of mayor

By Curtis Riggs | December 3, 2008

Hopes to have on ballot May 19
CAREFREE – After determining no one else was going to do it, Town Councilman Bob Coady took out initiative paperwork Monday, which calls for citizens to directly elect their mayor.

Current procedures call for the Carefree Town Council to appoint the mayor and vice mayor every two years. Citing the March 10 ballot measure, which will propose four-year staggered council terms, Coady decided it is time to try and place on the ballot the issue he hears most about when campaigning. The reason Coady took out the initiative paperwork was because Mayor Wayne Fulcher refused to put an item dealing with direct election of the mayor on the town council agenda.

Bob CoadyCoady said Fulcher told him, “It’s for the good of the town” when he refused to place the matter before the council.

Fulcher explains the refusal by saying “there is a better way for Carefree.

“We have seen over the years when you have a mayor who is elected by the town council it brings the council together and they work together better toward building a consensus,” he said. “Experience has proven in other small towns direct election of the mayor results in conflict and individual agendas.”

Coady explained he is a voting Carefree citizen as well as an incumbent town councilman who is taking matters into his own hands on the important election issues facing Carefree. He must obtain 255 valid signatures on his initiative petitions by Jan. 18 (120 days before the election) to get direct election of the mayor on the May 19 general election ballot.

“As a 10-year town councilman I should have the right to put something on the agenda,” he said. His decision to begin the initiative process was made after learning citizen Peter Koteas was not going through with his initiative to concentrate on his own run for town council.

Carefree Town Clerk Betsy Wise confirmed Dec. 1 Koteas was not going through with his planned initiative.

“There is support out there for direct election of the mayor. Almost everybody who signed my nomination petitions (for re-election to town council) said they would support direct election of mayor and is against four-year council terms,” Coady said. “People want to be involved in government. They don’t want seven guys to say who will be the mayor for the next two years.”

Coady has stated Carefree will be dealing with the wrong election issue in March since council voted earlier this month to place extending council terms to four years on the ballot.

“It is a sad commentary on this town council that members would seek to increase their power by extending their elected terms yet deny citizens the right to chose their mayor,” he said, adding he is willing to form a political-action committee so others can help him gather signatures for his initiative.

Photo: Carefree Councilman Bob Coady
Courtesy photo