A newly elected Grass Valley city councilman, who was sworn into office Monday, resigned Wednesday.
Terry Lamphier, a former Nevada County supervisor, was charged Dec. 29 with three misdemeanor counts of knowingly possessing child pornography. He was elected to the City Council in November, placing second in a field of four candidates, despite allegations that he had misused county computer equipment as supervisor. His swearing-in ceremony Monday drew sign-carrying protesters calling for his resignation.
Mayor Jason Fouyer confirmed that he had received an email Wednesday from Lamphier stating that he was tendering his resignation effective immediately. He did not state his reasons.
Fouyer said the allegations against Lamphier had been a distraction and that his resignation would allow the council to move forward with other issues facing the city.
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“We have a wonderful little community here,” Fouyer said. “But we’ve been having a rather ugly conversation for the last two months.”
Lamphier, 65, was elected to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors in 2010. He lost a re-election bid to Dan Miller, a Grass Valley city councilman, in last year’s June primary. Lamphier subsequently entered the City Council race for two open seats and was elected in November with nearly 27 percent of the vote, placing second to Fouyer.
Shortly before the June primary, someone gave the county administration office information suggesting that Lamphier had been misusing county computer equipment, said Stephen Munkelt, Lamphier’s attorney. The county conducted an audit of Lamphier’s office computer and found no problem, Munkelt said.
Then, about 12 days before the November council election, a reportedly anonymous letter was dropped off at the Board of Supervisors office making similar allegations, he said. The sheriff’s department was brought in, and Lamphier’s computer was audited again.
“They found what they thought were some suspicious uses of the computer,” Munkelt said.
District Attorney Clifford Newell said his office filed the three misdemeanor charges Dec. 29 based on the results of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation. He declined to comment on specifics of the case. Lamphier is to be arraigned Jan .26.
“At this point, I haven’t seen what the county has found,” Munkelt said.
He said Lamphier told him that he had reported problems with his office computer and accessing the Internet. Munkelt said Lamphier has denied knowingly having pornography on his computer.
Lamphier is accused of possessing obscene images of a person younger than 18.
Fouyer said Lamphier had run unsuccessfully for the Grass Valley City Council before his election to the Board of Supervisors. “He was a progressive on a predominantly conservative board,” Fouyer said.
Since Lamphier’s election to the City Council, Fouyer said, his legal problems have eclipsed other concerns in the city.
“I’m just looking for a quick resolution to it all so we can get on to important issues affecting the community,” Fouyer said.
City Manager Robert Richardson said the matter of filling Lamphier’s seat will be on the council’s agenda Tuesday, noting that the council has 60 days to decide whether to appoint someone to fill the post or schedule a special election. A special election, he said, could cost as much as $18,000.
Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.