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No decision yet from ethics panel on complaint against Hagerstown councilwoman

July 25, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Washington County Ethics Commission did not reach a decision when it met Thursday in connection with a complaint about the way a Hagerstown city councilwoman is alleged to have conducted herself when she was stopped for speeding in May.

Washington County Assistant Attorney Kirk Downey said he did not know when the commission would reach a decision regarding Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer, who, among other things, is alleged to have said, "Do you know who I am?" after City Patrolman Christopher Watt pulled her over May 26 for driving 43 mph in a 25-mph zone near City Park.

According to a supplement of a Hagerstown Police Department report, Watt wrote that Cromer used a sarcastic tone throughout the stop and said, "Do you know who I am?" when he asked for her registration and driver's license.

After Watt called his supervisor and was told to use his discretion, Cromer was issued a warning rather than a speeding ticket that would have carried a $90 fine.

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In an interview with The Herald-Mail shortly after the traffic stop, Cromer called Watt a liar, saying she never said, "Do you know who I am?"

Cromer said she offered to get the license from her luggage, but asked Watt whether that would be necessary if he already knew who she was.

Cromer also claimed that some city officials and members of the Hagerstown Police Department had a vendetta against her for exploring the necessity of the city's take-home vehicle policy, in which some municipal employees are allowed to drive city-owned vehicles to and from work.

Hagerstown resident Cathy Ridenour, who filed the complaint against Cromer in June, said Thursday that she believed Cromer acted unethically by using her position on the council to receive special treatment.

"No one is above the law," Ridenour said.

Should the commission find that Cromer acted unethically, the matter would be passed on to the Hagerstown City Council, Downey said earlier this week.

City officials or employees who violate the city's ethics code can face a "suspension of city salary or other compensation," according to the city code.

Hagerstown City Council members earn $8,000 per year.

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