Monday, December 5, 2011

Commissioner Mike Johnson Defends Hunting Trips

Speaking at Monday's bimonthly board meeting, Commissioner Mike Johnson defended his actions in the highly controversial  black bear hunting episode by saying he had asked the county board several years ago for permission to conduct youth hunts on county property.

Regarding what Johnson appeared to think was carte blanche permission to do what he wanted with the hunt(s) at the so-called Dare County Farm, he said, "everybody thought it was a good idea (at that time), and we didn't think we needed a (county) vote for whether you could go out and do something nice for kids."  Records show that no official action was taken nor any official approval was given by the board at that time and firearms have been declared illegal on county owned property and signs were posted in the area of the landfill/farm where that hunt and previous hunts led by Johnson took place.
Commissioner Mike Johnson

Johnson said he didn't think the Outer Banks Sentinel's newspaper article was worthy of addressing, adding that "one opinion of the press should not change the way we do business". He went on to say that he read some of the reader comments behind the article and "they were just not true".

"I don't like my kids reading things that say I am an outlaw,  I break the law and I broke into county property...that's just wrong", he said. "It's not really about bear hunting its about some people's dislike for me". Johnson said it was not fair to the kids.

At no time during his comments did Johnson apologize for using the county equipment or entering the property to hunt. He said the landfill gate was open on that particular day, but that he had his own key to the gate had he needed to use it. "I already have a key to the land, I don't need to break into it", he said.

Johnson said he did use the county tractor to drag the bear about 200 yards, adding that he did not break any game laws and the state's wildlife officials knew what he was doing...

Johnson spoke for about 20 minutes defending his work on behalf of the youth in the area regarding hunting and gun use and ownership.  At no time during the meeting did any of the other commissioners condemn or ask Johnson to explain any actions related to the event(s).

Commissioner Richard Johnson
Commissioner Richard Johnson said he had told Johnson "all along" that he should be saying something about what he was doing at the landfill.  Richard Johnson said he supported Mike Johnson's work with the youth, and later made a motion to place Johnson's work under the auspices of the county parks and recreation department and let them devise a written process of getting the kids formally approved to hunt with Johnson on county lands. Burrus seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The question of how Johnson could continue to hunt on county lands that have been declared by the county as "illegal to hunt or have guns on" was not discussed, and it was not mentioned whether other members of the public would be allowed to hunt on the property. One county official said Johnson plans to take several more youth onto the property to hunt bear again during this hunting season.

In another matter, Commissioner Mike Johnson said he wanted to make an apology for a statement he had made following the hurricane Irene disaster "During the 'heat of battle' during the hurricane I mentioned to this body that there was a group of greedy Realtors that I was unhappy with. I want to apologize to that group.  I meant nothing by it", said Johnson.

Commissioner Mike Johnson had also come under fire from the local press and area citizens last year when it was discovered that he had failed to return excess travel reimbursement funds back the county. Johnson had charged the county and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for duplicate expenses in connection with his attendance at various meetings.  Johnson later wrote a personal check to reimburse the county and the matter was never discussed in open meeting.

32 comments:

Insurance said...

Just try putting bear hunting under the County and get some insurance in place for it. Good luck. Before they vote that program "in" they best do some home work.

Anonymous said...

The county attorney is paid to protect Dare Countys interests legally. What does he say about the liability of a County sponsored bear hunt?

EOD said...

Along the same lines try talking with the board of education members about the fact that Johnson also said the schools sponsor his Youth Hunting Education Program. See what kind of wishy-washy answer you get. You can be assured if someone gets hurt with that the schools will be sued big time, yet they will say they are only "endorsing" the program...Another disaster waiting to happen. IMO.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of crap. The commissioners screw up big time on this one.

Mike said...

Was this item even on the agenda? Are they allowed to take action on someone making a defense for themselves?

Anonymous said...

How do I get a key to use county property and hunt on that land?

Youth said...

I want to use Dare County property, land and building space for my church youth group. Who do I get in touch with?

EOD said...

Johnson said he had his own key to the landfill gate. However, the director of the county public works department told EOD that he "didn't remember ever giving Johnson a key", which could mean someone else gave it to him or Johnson just happened to own a universal key.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any reason why the rest of us can't just go hunt there. If we get stopped by a sheriff or fish n game, we can just say F-U, apply the law equally or don't bother.

Anonymous said...

you know all coaches for schools or Parks and Rec have to have extensive background checks done before being allowed to interact with children.

I can only assume that his above board "program" also had these checks done.

this is what a real program looks like: http://www.albemarleso.org/Nhunteredu.html

Notice the accredited firearms instructor. That he's law enforcement. That he's not some voted-in bozo with no certificates or anything. I'd love to see Johnson's background check.

EOD said...

Johnson told the board, "this isn't something I do for friends and cronies of mine"...However, EOD finds it odd that the little girl who shot the 677 lb bear was the granddaughter of the county landfill supervisor. Johnson said the names of the qualified children are "pulled out of a hat".
EOD wonders how many names are in that hat if the county landfill supervisor's grandchild got pulled as the second child to kill a bear this year.

Anonymous said...

I want to know where the hat is!!!!!

Tims great but said...

If the county is endorsing a bear hunting program there better be a certified fire arms safety instructor on board. Tim White from Parks and Rec is not qualified to supervise a program of this nature.

special interests said...

Insurance? Safety instructor? Certified firearms specialist? Sounds like this is going to cost the county some big bucks. I want equal money spent on fishing programs for kids. And karate. And crabbing. And lacross. And bow hunting. And any other special interest taxpayers can come up with.

EOD said...

Well, it appears that the Outer Banks Voice, like the county commmissioners at today's meeting is content to gloss over this fiasco. The Voice, clearly wanting to get more readers to its news blog, waited several days before reporting the matter and then, only after dozens of irrate citizens responded on the Sentinel site and other Internet sites about the hunts(s). It's interesting to note that the Voice didn't raise the question of county liability or fairness to other hunters in the county as they, again, seemed to just wait until someone else breaks political news in the county before getting their news out. EyeonDare is only a blog...it can't do it all..and the citizens of Dare deserve to know more about their local gov't than they get from the local news media most of the time. And, of course, we can expect the Coastland Times to put their slant on the issue...which will be mostly a sweety-pie, stay off the good-old-boys backs fairy tale story. Wanna bet?

Anonymous said...

EOD, Its a great idea to see how the kids are all politically tied to Mike Johnson. Thats no accident that the supervisors granddaughter was picked.

I bet its all political and not kids who are from poor familys. I bet the supervisors salary is enough to buy groceries not need bear meat.

Anonymous said...

Dare County deserves better leadership.

OBV is trying to get people to leave an email address when commenting. I wont. Thanks for having a safe and anonymous blog to comment EOD.

Taxpayers are sick of this special treatment for some and not others.

EOD said...

A lot of smoke has been blown over this matter by Johnson and the board. For starters, why hasn't Johnson said where the paperwork for this so called project is? Who processed and slected the poor receipents for the deer meat ,this time and other times. Let's see this so called hat and how many names there are in it...Who drew the names? Who's been paying for the bear mounts he talked about? Where did Johnson get his gate key? Do the county workers feel safe working while someone is out there hunting and shooting? EOD's been told he has taken other people out there to hunt..and, you can bet the boy who preceded the little girl and his parents are definitely friends of Johnson. And, if this has been such a great project for the past three years, why haven't the people of Dare County been made aware of it more often? Why hasn't Johnson made a report to the board? It kinda reminds one of Richard Johnson's ten year record of convention trips without a single report back to the board or the people...

Anonymous said...

Greedy Realtors do not support bear hunts on taxpayers dollars.

Anonymous said...

Good questions EOD. Does Johnson have the answers?

Anonymous said...

PEOPLE???! Those vultures spent 40 million of everyone else's dollars to put sand in front of their own houses. Do you really think they care about shooting bears? Or 600 dollar hotel rooms? Or cheating on credit cards? It just annoys them to have to answer simple questions when they sometimes get caught.

They aren't losing a minute of sleep over any of this. They treat all of us like their jailhouse beeches and laugh about it later.

Anonymous said...

OBV had a different story this morning.with comments. Can't find any of it now that the board took care of the whole matter in the traditional Dare manner

Richrad Brunelle said...

Surely there's enough people outraged at Johnson's "hunting" trips to form an Occupy the Dare County Landfill movement. Can't shoot baited wildlife when there's taxpayers and voters on the land.

Anonymous said...

eHow much money does Dare County receive from the company that leases the land?

EOD said...

Good question, eHow
But, since the county wanted 40 acres of corn grown to attract ducks and game so Johnson could get his "jollies" (his words), perhaps the county had to pay the farmer instead of the farmer paying the county. Who knows?
That farm lease may have been as poorly written as the one the county had with the Gun Club. Amazing! Totally amazing!

Anonymous said...

Sure make you wonder what else is done in Dare County with county resrouces, for personal gain.

Anonymous said...

If the county want to run a you hunting program, I have no problem with that, HOWEVER it needs to be a structured program, with an application and selection process. The person guiding the hunt should be a firearms instructor, which there just so happens to be several at the Outer Banks Gun Club right next door to the landfill that I am sure would jump at the chance to guide our youth as well as the opportunity to have access to these lands.

Also, how does an average citizen get access to these lands. Maybe to help with the economy we should raffle off passes to hunt on county property?

Anonymous said...

Johnson managed to get his bs explanation out on the record in a venue that does not question the legality, safety or fairness of his actions. To bad if his children hear about it, did he care when he acted as arrogant and entitled commissoner who breaks the rules for his own pleasure and advancement? It is rediculous to think for a second he "did this for the children". He has no compunction about leaving the County on a hunting trip no matter what problems or crisis the taxpayers are facing. GET HIM OUT. AND, he has the nerve to insult our intelligence by stating the name was "pulled out of a hat"
Try again Mike, but please do it on your way out of public office.

Anonymous said...

I first am amazed that people actually think county employees make alot of money supervisor or not. I dont believe for 1 minute that any kids are picked by who they know I personally know 1 child that is scheduled to go this month and I can tell you his single father on a fisherman's salary in the winter makes him poor he has been in the "hat" for 2 years and this is his lucky year but now that it is a Parks and rec activity maybe more children can go. And get off the fact that its county property its in fact county leased property READ the lease. As long as Mike Johnson had permission from the lease holder who cares. Since I pay taxes in Dare County and the tractor belongs to me too guess what I give him permission to use it for my 1.00 tax use that should cover the first 2 uses and go ahead and throw in another 5.00 for the rest of the hunts scheduled this year. As for the age as long as the parents say their kid can go and the parent has a valid hunting license I say let the kid go. Most of these kids have been hunting since they could walk I say we have some good soldiers in training and I bet in 5 to 10 years when these kids are on the front line you will be greatful and a shrink says 11 is to young I say 18 is to young to join the military but we see no 1 complaining there or 21 is to young to drink still no complaints

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 10:44

So as a tax payer, you give Johnson permission to use the tractor for the rest of the hunts this year....

Can I have your permission to use it for my personal use as well?

Guess what, I DON'T give him permission.

He should have asked for permission. The fact that he didn't, means that he knew he was doing something illegal.

Hmmm, kind of like not asking if he could keep the double dipped money he took from the County taxpayers from his conference last year.

Anonymous said...

Is it not CLEAR to some of you?, WHAT HE DID WAS ILLEGAL! What more must be said and why is law enforcement sitting on their hands??? They sure dont when they pull over and give somebody a ticket for NO SEATBELT, when it is DARK out. Guess their super powers of vision dont work that well when its Mike Johnson committing a crime! Are you monitoring this Mr. NEW SHERIFF????Or are you busy hoping it goes away too, guess it is business as usual!!!
It is also no wonder the rest of the Board is sitting in silence hoping this whole thing goes away. You are all a disgrace and have no business in public office.

EOD said...

The Dare commissioners do not believe Johnson violated any laws and EOD has spoken to wildlife officials who say, to their knowledge, no hunting laws were broken. So, if the commissioners are not willing to enforce their own ordinances, the sheriff is not to blame. I am sure no one has asked him to intervene and you can't blame him for staying out of what is certainly a hot political matter.