He should never have asked. She should never have responded. It’s as simple as that.
Both City Manager Paul Stansbury and Danville City Commissioner Janet Hamner — experienced as they are in city business and in political fallout — should have known that to ask for or to offer a quote from Cottage Interiors, Hamner’s private interior design business, would raise eyebrows regarding any city purchase.
And they’re not alone in their should-have-knowns. On July 12, the rest of the commission approved the payment of more than $3,600 to Hamner’s business for blinds hung in the new city hall. Their acceptance of this transaction exhibits one of three things — incredible naivety, mildly sinister motives or an uncanny collective oversight — none of which are good choices if you are looking for an explanation.
Mayor Hugh Coomer, no stranger to ethics violations he, was correct to make an issue of this. Coomer was found guilty early in his term of office on three ethics charges, none of which translates into something as clearly problematic to the average voter as this one might. On its face, based on the sections of the ethics code Coomer cites, this was a violation. Admirably, we understand Hamner will ask the Ethics Committee to conduct an investigation. The committee may not agree either with Coomer or with us.