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After holding the post for eight years, City Manager Andrew Hatton-Ward has resigned, although he is negotiating a contract to remain Draper's development consultant on a controversial new shopping center.

"Now was just a good time for me personally to make the transfer to a new career," said Hatton-Ward, 33, who began working in Draper city government as intern.He said he is negotiating a three-year contract with Draper to consult with the City Council on development issues. If the arrangement materializes, Hatton-Ward said he would represent the city in its dealings with Raddon Bros. Construction, which is building the Hidden Valley Shopping Center on the north edge of Draper.

Hatton-Ward dismissed rumors that he might also go to work for Raddon but did not rule out the possibility that he might work with the company on other projects in the future.

"If I get a contract with Draper, obviously I'd have to keep those interests separate and respect that," he said.

Hatton-Ward has been at the forefront of a conflict between Sandy and Draper over the approximately 100-acre shopping center. Though Draper officials wholeheartedly support the development, which would be the small town's first major retail center, the proj-ect irks Sandy residents who live within a few feet of the site.

Hatton-Ward announced his resignation at Tuesday's council meeting and said it would be effective March 17.

He said the move to stay aboard as a consultant is a natural extension of a sideline he has pursued for some time, doing work in recent years for a Taiwan-based firm as well as a handful of Salt Lake companies, including Earth Search Scientists, which specializes in using satellite images to address development and environmental issues. Hatton-Ward has also taught occasionally art Brigham Young University.

The Draper contract arrangement was proposed, he said, "to ease in a new city manager and let me get on with my consulting career."

Todd Anderson, who has been a Draper councilman two years longer than Hatton-Ward has been city manager, called him a "fine young man."

"We had our disagreements, but in large part he did a respectable job." Anderson said the city has no ordinance preventing former employees from going to work immediately for concerns that have done business with the city.

Hatton-Ward said Raddon has several project proposals that have caught his eye.

"I may do some work for him . . . eventually we will probably do some stuff together," he said.