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It is time for Harper to resign

Ken Harper has had a long legal career. He is respected by his peers and earned the trust of voters last November in being elected county prosecutor.

With that said, it is now time for Harper to officially resign.

On Sept. 14, Harper submitted a letter of resignation to the Warren County Board of Supervisors. It was an abrupt resignation that caught everyone by surprise, including Harper himself as it turned out. Just days later, he submitted another letter, rescinding that resignation.

At the time, it appeared as a quirky event, but everyone moved on. Unfortunately, six weeks later, that resignation has become a problem — not just for Harper or the Warren County Board of Supervisors, but also for the important work and crucial cases being presented to the Warren County Youth Court.

Harper regretted the quick resignation in mid-September. He said the decision was made “in haste” and that he should have consulted others he trusted before making such a rash decision.

Because of that resignation, however, there is a cloud over his office, a cloud over the work the county prosecutor is responsible for, and confusion involving the cases he has presented and those he has worked on since offering that resignation. There is confusion as to whether he is able to rescind a resignation once it has been delivered and questions as to whether the Board of Supervisors were the right governing body to submit the resignation.

There are just too many questions, too much confusion and too much uncertainty.

As a result, the county has now sought an opinion from the Attorney General’s office and is withholding Harper’s pay until a decision is reached. Also, Warren County Judge Marcie Southerland has decided Harper cannot serve in the youth court until the matter is resolved, forcing her to appoint an interim youth court prosecutor.

The voters of Warren County selected Harper as the county prosecutor due to the work they believed he would do in that vital position. Unfortunately, a decision made in haste — a decision we know he regrets — has caused too many problems for him to continue.

It is time now for him to officially resign, time for him to step aside so that a replacement can be named and a special election organized.

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