David Schwan recall, Carefree, Arizona (2010)
- Number of votes to retain Schwan: 876 (58%)
- Number of votes to replace Schwan: 624 (42%)
The recall effort was led by a group called the "Recall David Schwan Political Action Committee."
Reasons given by recall supporters for their actions included an alleged "downward spin" of the town. According to committee Chairman Rod de Szendeffy, it was not acceptable for residents to wait until the next regularly-scheduled election to change direction. According to the mayor, he was the target of the recall because residents were “upset with everything about the town."
Rod de Szendeffy launched the recall effort with the help of hired political consultant Ryan Ducharme.
In 2007, a town zoning board said that de Szendeffy's detached garage violated Carefree's height requirements. He appealed the decision to Carefree's Board of Adjustments, and lost. Recall target Schwan was on the board, and voted against de Szendeffy's appeal.
Candidate John Traynor
John Traynor, a retired insurance agent, ran for the seat that would have become vacant if Schwan had been recalled.
Current Carefree city council members Doug Stavoe, Peter Koteas and Bob Coady endorsed Traynor's candidacy. They were each elected to Carefree's 7-member city council in 2009. If Schwan had been recalled, and Traynor elected, local pundits said that this would have given Stavoe, Koteas, Coady and Traynor a 4-vote majority bloc on the council.
Traynor said that Carefree's "...financial picture is not good. The bottom line is, when you are spending consistently more money than you are bringing in, you are not being fiscally responsible." Traynor implied that he is an advocate of increasing the city's sales tax, saying that the current sales tax in the city is below what other cities charge.
The recall effort met with opposition.
- Four anti-recall groups formed, including "Carefree Truth," "Carefree Citizens Against the Recall" and "Citizens for Schwan." According to Ned Dobak, co-chairman of Carefree Citizens Against the Recall: "We think that to maintain the integrity of recalls, they should be reserved for more important issues."
- Recall opponent Ed Warner said, "Schwan is a very decent guy with a very good record, good ideas and has an idea of the concept of the welfare of Carefree. They're finding any trivial complaints they can find."
- Schwan himself said, "The current claims against me are not based on fact. I'm being accused of doing things that are based on untruths."
- City council member Susan Vanik was strongly opposed to the recall. She said, "In one of the worst economic downturns in recent history a group of Carefree dissidents has spent over $20,000 to divide a council and create adversity and divisiveness among our citizens by supporting a recall that is not founded on any immoral, unethical or illegal grounds … Yet every editorial, every email blast published by supporters of the recall attacks our town and council for irresponsible spending...Where is the outrage?"
Path to the ballot
Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell certified 380 valid signatures on the recall petition, thus solidifying the recall election for March 9, 2009. Treasurer of the Recall David Schwan committee Ryan Ducharme turned in double the amount of signatures required and, according to reports, turned them in with an invalidation rate of 6 percent.
Town Clerk Betsy Wise validated 396 signatures on the recall petition. 203 signatures were required to force the recall vote.
- Arizona Republic, "Carefree mayor appears to have beaten recall try," March 10, 2010
- The Foothills Focus, "Schwan retains seat on council," March 17, 2010
- Sonoran News, "Schwan certain to face recall," September 9, 2009
- Sonoran News, "Why does Rod de Szendeffy really support the recall?," February 24, 2010
- Arizona Central, "Carefree mayor recall election is March 9," February 6, 2010
- November 9, 2009, "3 groups opposing bid to recall Carefree mayor," November 9, 2009
- Sonoran News, "Schwan recall certified, voters to decide March 9," November 25, 2009
- The Arizona Republic, "Petitions await verification for recall of Carefree mayor," October 19, 2009
- Arizona Family, "Carefree residents want to recall mayor," October 26, 2009
- Sonoran News, "Carefree recall effort gains more media attention," October 28, 2009