By Ryan Hagen Staff Writer
Posted: 04/28/2011 06:44:24 PM PDT

GRAND TERRACE – City Attorney John Harper, who has provided legal advice for the city since it incorporated and served as city attorney since 1988, resigned Thursday.

The resignation takes effect July 1.

The announcement follows two City Council votes that affected Harper’s role, culminating with a decision Tuesday night to ask for proposals from other firms interested in offering a new city attorney.

“I’ve been here for a long time, and I love Grand Terrace and the residents,” Harper said.

The City Council voted April 12 to select a new firm – Straddling, Yocca, Carlson & Rauth – to serve as bond counsel. Harper had performed that job, which includes advising the city’s redevelopment agency about whether to issue bonds, while serving as counsel to the redevelopment agency and city attorney.

That switch inspired a broader search, said Councilman Bernardo Sandoval.

In his resignation letter, Harper offered to continue serving at his current rate of $145 per hour or a retainer of $5,000 per month until a replacement is found, but he thought it was in the city’s best interests for him to leave.

“The purpose of this resignation is to avoid having the selection of the city attorney become an issue which will detract from the progress of a city which I love very much in meeting its current challenges,” he wrote.

In the last few years, a series of irregularities have come to light in Grand Terrace.

But Harper, who is a partner at Harper & Burns and also serves as city attorney in Norco, said those issues were not his responsibility.

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