Local

State commission to hold hearing on removal of Thurston Conservation District supervisors

Thurston Conservation District’s board members at a June meeting. From left: Paul Pickett, Eric Johnson, Linda Powell and Richard Mankamyer.
Thurston Conservation District’s board members at a June meeting. From left: Paul Pickett, Eric Johnson, Linda Powell and Richard Mankamyer. aspegman@theolympian.com

The Washington State Conservation Commission will hold a public hearing to decide whether to remove two supervisors at the Thurston Conservation District.

Conservation districts are public, non-regulatory agencies that work with landowners to manage land and protect natural resources.

A report by commission staff released in July found Eric Johnson, the board of supervisors’ chairman, and Richard Mankamyer, its auditor, failed to respond to a public records request, delayed or refused to sign district checks, and prevented the release of board meeting minutes to the public.

Current and former district staff also told investigators about what they considered to be inappropriate or intimidating comments and actions by the two.

Responding to the report in writing, Johnson and Mankamyer defended their actions and argued they were not grounds for removal.

At a special meeting Wednesday, the commission decided to move forward with a hearing. The date and location for the hearing have not been announced, though it will be held in Thurston County.

The earliest it could be held is Sept. 25. The commission hopes to hold it by Oct. 31, according to Ron Shultz, policy director for the commission.

There will be an opportunity for members of the public to comment.

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869
  Comments