Sidney councilman's death leaves gas moratorium in limbo

The sudden death of Sidney town councilman Walter Goodrich on Tuesday, April 3 has left the town council split down the middle between bitterly opposed factions.

According to councilman Pete Cordes, at last week's town meeting on April 19, two motions were made to appoint a new member to fill Goodrich's seat until elections are held in November. Both motions failed.

Cordes said that town supervisor Bob McCarthy sought to appoint former councilman John Schaeffer, who lost to Goodrich and Gaby Pysnik in the last election. But without support from Cordes and Pysnik, the motion failed.

"He was beat rather overwhelmingly last fall, which to me means people don't want him," said Cordes.

Cordes said that he and Pysnik sought to appoint former village trustee Floyd Howard, but that McCarthy and Eric Wilson did not support the motion.

With the town council divided 2-2, a proposed gas drilling moratorium will probably be mothballed for the forseeable future, Cordes said.

"That's kind of become a moot subject at this time," he said.

Sidney's draft gas drilling law, which had the support of three members of the town council before Goodrich's death, was disapproved by the Delaware County Planning Board before it could be passed. Because of the planning board's disapproval, the law now needs a supermajority, or at least four members of the town council, in order to pass. But moratorium supporters had planned to try to overturn the planning board's decision with a legal challenge known as an Article 78 appeal.

But now, without even a simple majority supporting the moratorium, the council is unlikely to take action anytime soon.

The Watershed Post left a message with McCarthy. If he calls us back, we'll update this post with his comments.