Hearing ends with status quo

Supervisors won’t second motion to reinstate Johnson to the Board of Health

It was contentious at times, but when Wednesday night’s public hearing was finished, nothing had changed.

Terry Johnson’s dismissal from the Chickasaw County Board of Public Health remained in place.

After more than an hour of “testimony,” the Board of Supervisors, in effect, upheld the dismissal when no second was made to a motion by Supervisor Jason Byrne to reinstate Johnson to the board.

“I think right now, we’re going to go back and look at our options,” said Aaron Murphy, the Osage attorney who represents Johnson, “and I think, depending on what Terry wants to do, there are some options.”

Johnson’s fellow Board of Health members voted in July to ask the supervisors to remove him, and after voting 3-2 in August to not dismiss him, the Board of Supervisors changed course — again, on a 3-2 vote — in a Sept. 8 meeting and voted to remove him from the board.

In the August meeting, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jacob Hackman said he had received two letters in which the writers had accused Johnson of “sexual harassment comments, sexual harassment issues,” and Murphy said Wednesday during the hearing that it was those comments that needed to be addressed.

He conceded that both he and Johnson didn’t have any “illusions” that the decision made in September would be reversed, but he also felt those allegations made by Hackman needed to be challenged.

Murphy said he felt the main reason Johnson had been removed from the board was the fact that he asked too many questions.

“I don’t think it had a damn thing to do with any alleged sexual harassment or anything else,” Murphy said. “It just had to do with Terry raising questions some people didn’t want raised.”

— For more on this story, see the Oct. 27 Tribune or the Oct. 29 Reporter

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