Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 02/22/2011 05:11:30 PM PST

UPLAND – John “JP” Pomierski resigned as mayor on Tuesday amid a federal investigation.

Pomierski, who has been under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, filed his resignation after clearing out his office at City Hall. He offered no explanation for his decision.

Mayor Pro Tem Brendan Brandt will assume mayoral duties.

“Working for the city of Upland over the past 10 years has been a very rewarding and gratifying experience, and I appreciate the opportunities given in serving the citizens of this fine city,” Pomierski said in his resignation letter.

“I especially want to thank all the wonderful employees, staff and City Council members for the honor of working with them.”

Pomierski has been mayor since 2000. His current term ends in 2012.

Pomierski’s decision comes after two setbacks at City Hall.

In January the City Council placed City Manager Robb Quincey on paid leave of absence.

In June, FBI and IRS agents raided City Hall as well as Pomierski’s house, where his business is based. Agents carried boxes of records away from both locations.

A search warrant for his cell phone sought records as evidence of violations including alleged racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, bribery, mail and wire fraud, and money laundering.

No charges have been filed by the U.S Attorney’s Office, said Jerry Behnke, assistant U.S. attorney and deputy chief of the office in Riverside. An FBI spokesperson had no comment.

Brandt said he did not know for sure whether the investigation was Pomierski’s reason for resigning, but it will help the city move forward. “Obviously there was the raid back in June and I don’t know any more than that,” Brandt said. “I think it’s unfair to speculate without talking directly to the mayor as to his precise reason for resigning.”

Attempts to reach Pomierski by telephone and in person on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Robert Schauer, Pomierski’s attorney, said Pomierski resigned because he believes it is in the best interest of the city and his family.

“And that I would hope the city of Upland would remember that when he took office the city was defunct and almost bankrupt, and through his leadership the city rebounded to where we are today,” he said. “Upland is at the forefront in terms of ability to handle its finances.”

The City Council has 60 days to either appoint a replacement or proceed to a special election to fill the remainder of Pomierski’s term, according to City Attorney William Curley.

Councilman Ken Willis said Pomierski called him Tuesday morning.

Pomierski said “that he felt that it would be the best thing for the city and that he needed to turn and deal with the cloud that’s over his head,” Willis said “Better to do that than drag the the city through it.”

Willis said Pomierski made the right decision.

“I think it is very important to reach out to his family and make sure that his wife and children know that we all take it very seriously, and we appreciate his sacrifice in terms of giving up the office,” Willis said.

Pomierski’s resignation is sad, yet it opens a new chapter for the city, said Councilman Ray Musser.

“It’s sad that in fact a resignation is needed for change of direction, but it does open an opportunity for the council to take on the task of whoever that might be,” he said. “And now we have a vacancy, or will create a vacancy of some kind depending on how we handle the mayor’s absence.”

Musser said the city’s policies do not need to be revisited, but rather the people in place must uphold the policies.

“Our policies are fine, it’s just that we have violated some of the policies that are in effect,” Musser said. “Is it a time to go the right direction? The answer is absolutely yes.”

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