Carl K. Newton, Downey's city attorney for five years, resigned Jan. 1 to become city attorney of the newly incorporated City of Santa Clarita.
Lawyer Peter M. Thorson, who works for the same Los Angeles law firm as Newton--Burke, Williams & Sorensen--has been filling in, and the City Council is scheduled to formally appoint him to the post Tuesday, an official said.
Newton was appointed Downey's city attorney in December, 1982. Two years later, he became entangled in the city's legal fight over redevelopment.
A judge invalidated a 386-acre addition to Downey's redevelopment district in 1985 because Councilman James S. Santangelo had a conflict of interest when he voted for the expansion. Santangelo, who owned property in the original district and the expansion area, blamed Newton for giving him legal advice that led to the tainted vote. Newton has declined to comment publicly on the issue.