OLYMPIA — The Washington State Conservation Commission voted to expel two Thurston County Conservation District supervisors from their elected positions, citing them for malfeasance in public office.
The state panel deliberated in closed session for about 90 minutes Wednesday night after an 11-hour hearing, finding that Thurston Conservation District supervisors Eric Johnson and Richard Mankamyer committed acts of malfeasance.
The two South Sound farmers have been embroiled in a contentious battle with the Thurston Conservation District. Johnson, a dairy farmer, and Mankamyer, a cattle rancher, are accused of undermining the district’s finances and morale. Testimony Thursday included charges of intimidation of public employees, plus failure to publish minutes in a timely fashion and sign checks to pay for public-owned leases.
The embattled farmers have filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the state is in violation of the constitution.
“We already have a federal case pending and they just helped our case,” Johnson and Mankamyer’s attorney, Shawn Newman, said after the decision was announced. He declined to comment further.
Commissioner Chairman Jim Kropf said the commission would release its findings at its next meeting in mid-March.
iFIBER One News will report additional information and a produce video coverage on Thursday.