Three incumbents withdraw from May election after poor showing

By Curtis Riggs | March 25, 2009

Fulcher, Meyer, Gardner call it quits
CAREFREE – The new Carefree Town Council will look much different when it is seated in June after the withdrawal of Mayor Wayne Fulcher, Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer and longtime Councilman Greg Gardner from the May 19 general election after they failed to be elected in the March 10 primary.

On March 17 and 18 all three incumbents notified Carefree Town Clerk Betsy Wise of their intention to withdraw.

Gardner has served on the council for six terms and was previously a Planning and Zoning Commissioner. Fulcher is in his fourth term on the council and in his first as mayor. Meyer is in his second term on the council and first as vice mayor.

The withdrawal of the three candidates makes it much easier for the four candidates, challengers Peter Koteas and Susan Vanik and incumbent councilmen Bob Gemmill and David Schwan, to win election on May 19. Four candidates will be needed to fill out the council after incumbents Bob Coady and Glenn Miller along with challenger Doug Stavoe were elected outright in the March 10 election.

Meyer summed up his reason for not seeking re-election on May 19 in his withdrawal letter to Wise.

“It is clear from the results of the just completed primary election that the majority of citizens who voted do not approve of the direction and progress we have achieved,” he wrote. “Hopefully, that will change in the general election as more citizens have the opportunity to become better informed about the real issues, opportunities, and challenges facing our community.”

In an e-mail to a constituent, Gardner wrote, “After 20 years it is time for me to move on.” He urged support for Gemmill, Schwan and Vanik on May 19, however.

Wise said Carefree has never had as many as four first-time council candidates vying for election and no candidate has ever withdrawn from an election let alone three of them.
Six-term incumbent Council-man Bob Coady topped all candidates on March 10 by garnering 800 of the 1,244 votes cast.

“To be honest, I am really disappointed that three councilmen put their egos before the town by withdrawing from the general election, especially considering their constant references to the need for continuity,” he said on Monday. “I hope our citizens will be patient and understanding while a new council picks up the pieces.”

He hopes the new council will have better communication with Carefree citizens and conduct town business with more transparency.