Carefree recall effort gains more media attention

By Linda Bentley | October 28, 2009
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stacey delikat and rod de szendeffy
Photo: Channel 3’s Stacey Delikat interviewed Rod de Szendeffy, chairman of the Recall David Schwan Political Action Committee, on Monday, along with several volunteers who helped collect the 406 signatures, double the number required to clinch a recall election. Photo by Linda Bentley
Watch the Channel 3 video

Mayor says he will file a rebuttal and will not resign

CAREFREE – As the process of verifying the Recall David Schwan petitions is under way by Maricopa County Elections, Political Action Committee (PAC) Chairman Rod de Szendeffy and Treasurer Ryan Ducharme have no doubts the recall will qualify for the March ballot.

The effort has also drawn broad attention as Channel 3 made its way to Carefree on Monday to do a story about the recall.

Channel 3 reporter Stacey Delikat arrived at the Recall David Schwan headquarters in Carefree Monday afternoon, where she interviewed de Szendeffy, Ducharme and volunteers Ray Paul, Henk Tinkelenberg and Susan Coady.

Ducharme explained numerous examples of Schwan being out of touch with the citizenry, including a few years ago when he said he supported criminalization of town code violations, such as holding a yard sale without a permit, making them class 1 misdemeanors, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to six months in jail, rather than a civil offense.

The recall petitions state Schwan is “irresponsibly out of touch with Carefree residents,” whereas he campaigned against the direct election of the mayor, a measure overwhelmingly supported by 73 percent of Carefree’s voting electorate.

Schwann also supported four-year council terms, also soundly defeated by voters.
And, after coming in last in a field of nine during the primary election, if three candidates hadn’t withdrawn from the race, he would not have been included in the general election ensuring the four candidates running would fill four vacant seats.

Yet Schwan cast the fourth and deciding vote to appoint himself mayor.

The recall petition quotes Schwan chastising the audience at the June 9, 2009 council meeting, within 10 minutes of becoming mayor, stating, “You people are here to listen and observe … do not exert yourselves or make comments during our meeting.”

Once the town clerk has certified the number of signatures is sufficient, the petitions are transmitted to the Maricopa County Recorder, who has up to 60 days to certify the number of signatures with the Carefree Town Clerk.

The town clerk then has 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, to notify Schwan in writing that a recall petition has been filed, stating the grounds thereof.

If Schwan does not resign within five days, excluding weekends and holidays, the order calling for a special recall election must be issued within 15 days to be held on the next consolidated election date, which would be the second Tuesday of March.

Schwan also has 10 days from the time he is notified to prepare a statement of not more than 200 words to appear in the ballot pamphlet, defending his official conduct.

If Schwan were to fail to deliver a statement within that 10 day window, his right to have a statement printed is considered waived.

On Monday, Schwan told Delikat he has no intention of resigning and said he will submit a rebuttal. He called the recall effort “frivolous” and the charges against him “outright lies.”

According to de Szendeffy, who is one of the original founders of Carefree, which incorporated in 1984, Schwan is the last remnant of the good old boys who took over the town 12 years ago.

He said, “We cannot survive fiscally, politically or any other way with the system that we have now. They have run it into the ground.”

De Szendeffy said they took a town that was as close to perfect as one could get and “screwed it up.”

bill rintelmann and ned dobakMeanwhile, a group that appears to be headed by Kiwanis Club of Carefree members claims to have collected over 700 signatures in opposition to the recall.

However, the signatures they are collecting are meaningless and serve no legitimate purpose, since there is no process to oppose a recall effort except at the ballot by either voting for the recalled candidate or one of his opponents.

And, with no time constraints or worries about whether those who sign their petition are even residents of Carefree, let alone qualified electors, the number of signatures they collect becomes more meaningless even from a symbolic standpoint.

Ned Dobak, frequently seen in front of town hall collecting signatures against the recall, was also interviewed by Delikat.

Dobak chastised the recall effort, noting the town will now have to pay for another election, calling it “a waste of effort – a waste of time,” as he continued collecting signatures on petitions that have no legitimate purpose.

Photo: Kiwanians Bill Rintelmann (l) and Ned Dobak are pictured outside Carefree Town Hall collecting signatures in opposition to the recall, even though their petitions have no legitimate purpose and carry no weight, regardless of the number of signatures obtained.
Photo by Linda Bentley