jmmorales@bayareanewsgroup.com

ORINDA -- The state Fair Political Practices Commission will not investigate a former City Council member's assertions that Mayor Tom McCormick violated conflict of interest laws.

Former Orinda City Councilman Gregg Wheatland's complaint against McCormick "does not contain evidence to allege a violation of the Political Reform Act's conflict of interest prohibition," according to a letter from Roman Porter, the commission's executive director.

A copy of the letter, dated Oct. 28, was sent Sunday to the Times; Porter confirmed Monday that it was sent to Wheatland and McCormick.

McCormick is seeking a second term on the City Council.

In the complaint, Wheatland argued that McCormick violated conflict of interest laws by heading a city task force that made zoning recommendations for the downtown despite owning a home nearby.

McCormick said he was advised his actions did not violate the law because the task force made no formal decisions and dealt with issues involving the entire city.

"It's unfortunate that some of the old guard continues to try to attack people," he said Monday. "They're missing the issues. We need to focus on positive things and focus on issues, not on making personal attacks."

Wheatland said he was surprised at how quickly the commission made a decision.

"I do plan to ask them what information, if any, they received from Mr. McCormick or the city attorney that informed their opinion on this issue," he said.

State law gives the FPPC two weeks to decide whether to act on a complaint, but the commission can make that decision earlier if the facts warrant it, said Porter, who did not have additional details Monday about the commission's decision.

McCormick is still waiting for FPPC advice on whether or not he should participate in future council discussions on downtown. That advice is due to him by Nov. 23.

Contact Jonathan Morales at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/sosaysjonathan.