The town’s last councilman who favors commercial wind-farm development, Mickey W. Orvis, has stepped down with more than a year left on his term.
In his letter of resignation submitted to the town clerk Tuesday, Mr. Orvis suggested he has not been included in the decision-making process since the 2011 elections when, as seen by some observers, the anti-wind forces took power.
“I have not been a part of the current town board since last year’s election results. I do not have the passion or the time anymore to be an effective councilman,” he said in the letter.
Town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey said the town board officially accepted Mr. Orvis’s resignation, effective Wednesday, at a special meeting Thursday afternoon and plans to make an appointment at its July 19 monthly meeting to fill the vacant seat until the end of the year.
Mr. Orvis has left potential Republican candidates a very narrow window to gather 50 signatures and get their petitions in by next Thursday’s deadline for the upcoming November elections, according to Jefferson County elections officials.
If Mr. Orvis had resigned after Sept. 20, the remaining council members could simply have appointed a replacement to complete his term.
Mr. Orvis’s term expires at the end of 2013, Mr. Hirschey said.
Mr. Orvis was unavailable for comment Friday.
For more than a decade, he served the community as a councilman and often stressed the need to “start the healing process” of the community divided over commercial wind development.
During an Aug. 26 special meeting, Mr. Orvis sided with Mr. Hirschey and fellow Councilman Brooks J. Bragdon in rescinding a controversial and illegal town law requiring voters to show their driver’s licenses in local elections.
“This community is broken enough. This isn’t going to solve anything. This is not going to help the divide. Although I agree with what’s been done, I don’t agree with keep driving a wedge between this side and that side,” he said at the meeting.
Mr. Orvis, however, was also one of the three pro-wind councilmen who originally passed the resolution — which opponents of wind saw as an attempt to intimidate seasonal voters and proponents argued was the only way to prevent voter fraud.
At a more recent town board meeting in May, Mr. Orvis expressed displeasure that his fellow town board members drafted a letter to the state Public Service Commission regarding Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act without ever consulting him and abstained from voting.