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Panel: Danville mayor went too far

DANVILLE — The Danville Board of Ethics on Monday found that Mayor Hugh Coomer had acted beyond his legal authority and violated the city's ethics ordinance on three counts.

Four other counts were dismissed by the five-member board.

The board found that Coomer had:

Directed the city engineer to ignore the official action of the city commission about the demolition of a building at Cowan Street Park.

Submitted an intentional misrepresentation of the approved beautification committee plan for the use of $20,000 in federal money administered by the state.

Signed a letter of intent, without authority from the commission, to apply for grant funds on behalf of Pioneer Playhouse, an outdoor theater.

Under Danville's form of government, all executive and legislative powers are vested in and exercised by the city commission.

The ruling came Monday afternoon, nearly three hours after the ethics board began deliberations.

Jim Sullivan, chairman of the ethics board, said the board will issue a cease and desist order. He also said a public reprimand will be issued when the final report is released during the next 30 days.

Afterward, Coomer said he was disappointed.

"Naturally, I would have liked to have had a clean slate. But I won't question it," he said. "It's their decision."

City Commissioner Terry Crowley said he hoped the ethic board's action "will prompt the mayor to kind of join the team."

"Maybe we can repair some damage and move ahead," Crowley said.