MANTUA, Utah, April 26, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The mayor of Mantua has resigned effective Monday after appointing a new chief of police following controversy about the firing of the previous chief.
Mayor Michael Johnson’s resignation was effective at 1 p.m. Monday, April 26, a posted letter says.
“I have enjoyed serving my fellow citizens and the friendships I have made,” the letter says, in part. “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. I have enjoyed working with the town council and town staff. They are great people. They spend many thankless hours serving this community.
“My last privilege is to swear in a new police chief. Hopefully, you will all get to know him and find him to be a fair and friendly officer.”
A post issued about an hour prior to Johnson’s resignation letter names Craig Hamer as the new police chief.
“Welcome our new Chief of Police, Craig Hamer!,” the town page’s post says.
Johnson had told leaders at a meeting in March that one way to raise funds for the city was to cite more speeders. Shortly after that, Johnson fired Mantua Police Chief Michael Castro, saying it was for “personal reasons.”
Castro, in interviews with multiple media outlets, has said he was fired for declining to write more tickets than he found to be warranted. Two other officers from the department resigned immediately after Castro was let go, leaving just one part-time officer, according to reports.
Johnson has denied reports the firing was ticket-related.
Mantua is a Box Elder County town of about 700 residents, approximately 18 miles northeast of Logan.