Carmean plans retirement from council

After serving four terms on the Fenwick Island Town Council, Vicki Carmean announced this week that she will not seek reelection. Carmean has spent eight years on the council, and more in service to Fenwick Island.

“I’ve always done it just for the sake of community service,” Carmean said. “I never did it for the power.”

Originally from New Jersey, and having lived all over the world, Carmean taught school and was a school guidance counselor. Between teaching and serving on numerous committees, she said, she was patient with groups of people.

“I’ve always liked working on a team to get things done,” Carmean said, noting that group work is not always easy, but it has made her tougher.

Carmean had enjoyed vacationing in Fenwick Island with her husband and children since the 1960s, the family building a house there in the 1970s. She always wanted to serve the town, but between her children and work, Carmean was unable to do so until retiring in Fenwick around 2001.

Carmean served two terms on the council, then took a year off to reenergize and served another two terms. She said it it has been a great experience.

Now at the end of her fourth term, Carmean said she is running low on energy, between the town, family and managing affairs for two parents in nursing homes, one who recently passed away.

Carmean served as secretary for the council and on the committees related to the town charter and ordinances, environment and beautification, which eventually led to the formation of the popular Barefoot Gardeners Club.

Carmean noted some of the changes in town affairs since she first took office. She said finances are more organized and open to the public, due in part to Freedom of Information Act complaints filed by Carmean and other citizens.

“There’s still some rough spots, but I don’t think I anyone is deliberately trying to hide anything,” she said.

She said the lifeguards are more organized; there is more technology in town hall; and grant money has improved public-safety equipment.

Carmean did not take credit for those changes, calling the improvements a team effort.

After long scheduling her life around town activities, Carmean said her retirement from the council will allow her more time for reading, traveling, exercising, her family, grandchildren and the Barefoot Gardeners.

“I will always take an interest in the town and with the town is doing. I’ll always speak up … that’s who I am,” said Carmean. “I expect that the town will continue to move forward.”

As Fenwick Island’s election season begins, Carmean said she hopes more residents will get involved and volunteer to serve.

“You need to get new people on board to get new ideas,” Carmean advised.

She recalled an election in which no one applied to run, so three councilmembers simply agreed to keep their seats.

“I just hope that one of the residents who’s eligible to run will say, ‘I can give the next few years and try to do a good job,’” Carmean said. “It’s a nice town, and nobody expects to turn it into a metropolis or anything, just a nice quiet town.”