Mantua Mayor Michael Johnson resigned his position on Monday, according to a statement released on the town’s Facebook page.
“I have enjoyed serving my fellow citizens and the friendships I have made,” Johnson wrote in the statement. “My hope is that the divisiveness in the town will now stop and healing will begin, and Mantua will once again become the great town we moved into many years ago.”
As Johnson’s “last privilege,” he swore in new Chief of Police Craig Hamer.
“Hopefully, you will all get to know him and find him to be a fair and friendly officer,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson’s resignation comes off the heels of former police chief Michael Castro’s termination last month. Castro held the position around eight months and was nominated by Johnson for an award from the Utah Chiefs of Police Association just prior to being ousted.
Castro told Fox 13 he believed he was fired because he refused to implement speeding ticket quotas for his officers and Johnson tried to put Castro on probation for not being responsive to the citizens.
Johnson denied Castro’s termination had anything to with issued citations, according to reports from The Box Elder News Journal, despite noted budgetary issues. Johnson said in an April 15 town council meeting on the budget that he’d like to see a return to a strategy where the police department brought in enough revenue — presumably in large part from citations — to support itself. Both that suggestion and a proposed tax increase drew criticism from the public.
Johnson served as the Mantua police chief and retired in 2017. Shane Zilles, Johnson’s replacement, was let go in 2019 after a DUI arrest.