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|
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.