Carefree incumbents flip-flop on direct election of mayor
By Curtis Riggs | March 4, 2009
CAREFREE – Several Town Councilmen recently expressed a change of heart about Councilman Bob Coady’s proposal to have citizens directly elect their mayor.
Coady’s proposal, Proposition 404, will be on the ballot of the May 19 general election in Carefree. He was able to obtain the signatures of over 400 Carefree registered voters since the end of 2008, which ensured the proposition made it to the ballot.
The rest of the council took a dim view of Coady’s plan prior to his securing a place on the ballot for it. At the Jan. 5 council meeting Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer and his cohorts took turns abusing the five-term councilman over how the proposition, which Coady drafted, was written.
At recent election forums for the upcoming March 10 municipal election, Councilmen Bob Gemmill, David Schwan and even Mayor Wayne Fulcher admitted citizens directly electing their mayor could be the better way to go. Only Meyer and Councilmen Greg Gardner and Glenn Miller remained opposed to letting qualified voters have a say in choosing their mayor.
The three incumbents who changed their stance after assessing the popularity of Coady’s proposal still found fault with the wording of Proposition 404.
At the second candidate’s forum, Fulcher said he would support direct election of the mayor, “if it is done right.”
Just a few months ago, he opposed direct election of the mayor entirely.
At the forum he said he would “commit next year to put together an initiative that is done right.”
He added, “I support the concept if it is done right.”
Even Meyer said at the first forum he would, “consider a properly thought-out change in how we elect our mayor.”
At the first forum, Schwan maintained he “had no position on how the people of our town elect the mayor.”
Miller explained at the second forum that electing seven councilmen was a vote of confidence in the council’s traditional practice of choosing its own mayor.
At the second forum, Coady pointed out, “the attitude of the town council has changed 180 degrees” since he proposed the council discuss how the mayor was elected.
Fulcher refused his attempt to place the matter on a council agenda until the Jan. 5 ambush.
Council candidate Peter Koteas used the Louisiana term “crawfishing” to explain the flip-flop by the council incumbents at one of the forums.
“Crawfishing is the opportunity to back up faster than going forward,” he explained.