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Election Results

November 10, 2011

Clerk: Unhappy Sidney voters turn out in high numbers

Several victorious candidates in Sidney town elections said they were impressed with the turnout for Tuesday's elections.

Running for town council, Democrat Gabrielle Pysnik received 743 votes, and independent Walter Goodrich received 662 votes, defeating Republican incumbents Paul Hamilton Sr., who received 377 votes, and John Schaeffer, who received 394 votes.

Town Clerk Lisa French, a Republican running on the Democratic line when the party endorsed Elaine Anderson, won, 757-408.

The size of the turnout was historic, French said. The balloting usually averages about 700, but more than 1,100 participated.

It came in response to the supervisor and board creating a climate where town people felt they weren't being acknowledged, she said. "The people wanted a say, and the majorities are phenomenal," she said.

The situation became personal between her and supervisor Robert McCarthy when he took taking away some of her duties, she said. He challenged her credentials for the party's nomination, leading to her being on the Democratic line. She said she hopes the vote will change that.

Pysnik, a Chenango County restaurant inspector, said she was "flabbergasted" by the turnout. She decided to run because of the way the town dealt with a situation involving the local Muslim community. The board voted in August 2010 to begin action against the Muslim center in Sidney Center, claiming two burials in the private cemetery were done illegally. McCarthy was quoted as saying the town board would seek to have the bodies disinterred, which led to national attention for the town. The board dropped its action in October of that year.

Pysnik said she was tired of seeing Sidney get so much negative press and wanted to do something about it. She was looking forward to working with Goodrich and the rest of the board to make its actions more transparent.

"The town is speaking up for itself with this vote," she said.

Goodrich, a retired Troop C state trooper, said he sees the vote as being against the present town board. The public had been ignored past actions.

He was asked to run by several concerned residents who knew what he had accomplished during his years as town justice (2001-08), and as a member of the Sidney Central School Board of Education. He said he was hoping to work with Pysnik and other board members, including McCarthy, to open up the town meetings so the public can be heard.

McCarthy said he was surprised by the turnout but didn't want to speculate on the reason. In reaction to the willingness of council members to work with him to address the issues, "we'll see how things go," he said.

He was elected to put the town on a better foot financially and that is succeeding, he said.

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