Despite bringing “embarrassment” on the town and the office, Star Valley’s mayor will continue to serve after his recent domestic violence arrest.
In an emotionally charged council meeting Tuesday night, at least one councilor called for Mayor Gary Coon to resign after he reportedly struck a woman staying with him in late December.
Councilor George Binney questioned whether Coon was fit to serve as mayor after police arrested and booked him following the Dec. 18 incident at Coon’s home.
Binney said he would request that town staff put a vote of no confidence on the next council agenda. He said he had asked staff to put it on Tuesday’s meeting, but pulled the request.
Binney said when mayors erred in the past they would resign, and he expected Coon to follow suit.
“I am surprised you have not resigned,” he said.
Coon said he could not discuss the specifics of the case as it is pending, but said he had pleaded not guilty and this was his first arrest.
Coon admitted the ordeal had been quite embarrassing, but he respected the council’s decision to discuss the issue publicly.
He said he understood that being arrested for assault sounds bad and if someone he knew was arrested for a similar charge, he could shudder.
“I apologize to the council and the community that I am involved in this,” he said. “I don’t appreciate being falsely accused.”
Councilor Ray Armington, who indicated he knows the woman Coon allegedly struck, questioned the victim’s credibility, saying she is “a fraud.”
“The only thing he is guilty of is making friends with a woman living in her car and offering her a place to live,” he said.
Binney said the only person who should be judged at this time is Coon, not the victim.
Councilor Andy McKinney said the arrest tarnishes the good name of Star Valley.
Councilor Sharon Rappaport said as a woman who was battered by her ex-husband, she feels a duty to look out for the safety of the women of Star Valley and make sure they feel safe.
“I am upset,” she said.
Councilor Bobby Davis said the arrest was quite embarrassing for the town.
Binney said while he was not there to judge if Coon was guilty of the alleged crime, Coon was “guilty for not being responsible for this town.”