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A 28-year state senator serving as Lincoln’s Urban Development Department director has resigned after police ticketed him last week for urinating in public.

The city attorney's office charged David Landis, 70, with the city ordinance violation on Tuesday in connection with the Friday incident.

Officer Luke Bonkiewicz said at about 4:20 p.m. on Friday, police contacted Landis after seeing him urinating next to his car parked on the south side of J Street, between Eighth and Ninth streets, just west of the County-City Building.

Bonkiewicz said the officer contacted Landis and cited him for urinating in public. He said the officer saw no signs to suggest Landis had been drinking alcohol.

In an interview with the Journal Star on Wednesday, Landis reiterated he had not been drinking that afternoon and said he was unfortunately surprised as he left work. 

He deeply regrets the incident, and he wouldn't make excuses for what happened, he said. 

"Irresponsible acts have consequences, and I accept them," Landis said.

As the transition between mayors nears, Landis had planned to stay on and resign later in the year, he said. 

But upon reflection, he tendered his resignation effective immediately to keep the transition orderly, he said. 

"I expect ridicule for my indiscretion," Landis said, noting he hoped it would only be directed at him and not those around him.

He was set to go to court on the charge in June, but he said he has applied for diversion for his case and will "carry out the compensatory responsibilities assigned me."

A city misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Mayor Chris Beutler appointed Landis to the position soon after taking office in May 2007. 

The two had served together in the Legislature, where Landis represented Lincoln's District 46 for seven terms from 1979 to 2007 until term limits kept him from the ballot.

Landis serves as the at-large member on the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District board. He was elected to a four-year term last year.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Beutler said he reluctantly accepted this resignation because Landis insisted.

"Despite this recent lapse in judgment, I did not want to accept that resignation, as he has done admirable work for the city for 12 successful years and only five days remain in my administration," Beutler said. 

"I thank him profusely for his decades of service to the city of Lincoln and the state of Nebraska."

Mayor-elect Leirion Gaylor Baird, who will be sworn in Monday, would have weighed whether to retain Landis, along with other city directors, in the coming weeks.

"The mayor-elect has no comment on this matter," her spokesman said in a statement.

Assistant Director Dallas McGee will serve as the Urban Development Department's acting director.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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Reporter

Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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