FENWICK ISLAND – Resort residents have elected Gardner Bunting, Vicki Carmean and Bernie Merritt Jr. to represent the public on the Fenwick Island Town Council.
Bunting, the only incumbent in last week’s election, will retain his seat on the council after garnering 241 votes in the Aug. 6 election. Former council member Vicki Carmean will return to the dais after receiving 203 votes in the election. Merritt, a newcomer to town politics, brought in 258 votes to earn a spot on the council. Candidate Kevin Carouge fell short of earning a seat with 154 votes.
Bunting says he’s happy to be retaining a leadership role in Fenwick. This will be his fifth two-year term on the council.
“I’m just pleased they put me back on,” he said.
Bunting, who grew up in Fenwick Island, says he’s focused on ensuring that the town continues to be the quiet resort it has been and at the same time embraces progress.
“I’m looking forward to working with everybody,” he said.
Carmean, who served on the council on and off between 2002 and 2013, said she decided to run again after serving on the ad hoc election committee earlier this year.
“I just felt like I had some concerns about the town and the direction it was going,” she said.
She believes the council’s top task in the coming weeks will be hiring a new town manager following the resignation of Merritt Burke last month. Carmean, a former teacher and guidance counselor, is also eager to do what she can to encourage town officials to work together as a team.
“I want to be a consensus builder,” she said.
Carmean thanked the citizens who voted to put her back on the council.
“I really appreciate the support,” she said, adding that she’d met many residents as she went door-to-door campaigning. “Everybody I met was very nice. I can’t say enough about the people in town.”
Merritt, who splits his time between Fenwick and Alexandria, says he’s looking forward to serving on the council. The owner of a public affairs company, Merritt says he’s had property in Fenwick for years and wanted to take a more active role in the community.
“I just decided to make a run for it,” he said. “I wanted to do more than I was doing.”
Like Carmean, Merritt referenced the discord seen among council members during the past year and said he would not add to it.
“I’m unbiased,” he said.
He believes town leaders will spend the coming months focusing on issues like beach replenishment and drainage.
“We also have to look at commercial space and upgrade some of that,” he said.