District 21 Councilman Dan Johnson’s 25-year political career came to an end on Friday, after a three-member panel ruled that he violated the settlement that halted his Nov. 1 removal trial for sexual harassment.
The panel found Johnson violated three stipulation of the agreement within a week of signing it. The body declared his seat vacant and ordered the Metro Council to fill it within 30 days.
“This panel took our role very seriously. We understood our role completely as it is outlined in the stipulations and agreement order. We deliberated very thoughtfully, carefully and expeditiously. We feel today that we are making a very strong statement that we will not and do not tolerate sexual harassment in the work place. And we do not and will not accept a hostile work environment,” said panel member Barbara Sexton Smith after the unanimous decision.
The other members of the panel were Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin and Councilman Rick Blackwell.
Johnson was accused of violating a provision that he would not be in City Hall more than 20 minutes after a Metro Council meeting, and for making statements on Facebook and in a WDRB interview that countered the admission of guilt he made as part of the agreement. The panel rejected outright a response to each charge filed on Wednesday by Johnson’s lawyer, Thomas McAdam.
Ray Manley, Johnson’s legislative assistant, said the defrocked councilman would have a response to the decision on Monday. Johnson confirmed that in a Facebook message. On Wednesday, McAdam said he would appeal the decision if the panel voted against his client.
Councilman David James sat in the gallery during the panel hearing. James said he agreed with the decision and the process to replace Johnson would be similar to the one used to replace Jim King after his death. The council will interview applicants from District 21. Asked if he thought the council had heard the last of Johnson, James simply replied, “No.”