Honesty, the Hopalong Creed, and Mike Rogers’ Reasons for leaving.

Mike Rogers’ boyhood hero Hopalong Cassidy. Honesty was number one in the Hopalong Creed.

Honesty was a significant selling point for Mike Rogers when he began working for the Shoalwater Bay Tribe as the Administrator. From that time forward Rogers represented himself as someone who was thoroughly grounded in honesty and integrity, placing these character qualities above other considerations.

In this interest, Rogers made a short speech to tribal community youth exploring themes of good character, integrity, and honesty. To illustrate these qualities Rogers took out his wallet and removed a piece of paper containing the Cowboy Creed of a favorite Western hero, Hopalong Cassidy. Rogers said that he always kept the piece of paper in his wallet to remind himself. Next, Rogers read a quote from the Hopalong Cassidy Creed for American Boys and Girls. At number one on the list was, “The highest badge of honor a person can wear is honesty. Be truthful at all times.”

At the beginning of 2019, the Shoalwater Bay Tribal Council had a tough decision to make about Mike Rogers’ position as Tribal Administrator. With three Council members firmly in his corner and not wanting to change their position due to personal loyalties, Tribal Council faced a heart-wrenching choice.

Former Administrator Mike Rogers

The main factors in this decision included what had happened up to that point, various scandals and bad press hit the tribe hard to be sure; despite this, circumstances and events proved not to be the deciding factors. The main problem that Council viewed as most significant was the Tribal Administrator’s relationship to honesty, this they could not get past.

On Monday, January 7, 2019, Council called a special session to consider whether Mike Rogers should continue as Tribal Administrator. Consensus did not go in his favor. The following day Rogers tendered his resignation at Council request.

Under Mike Rogers: Scott Johnson A Shoo-in.

In the December 10, 2018 interview Mike Rogers was adamant that the hiring process for Shoalwater Bay Chief of Police would be fair; going on to express unsolicited concern about the current community “gossip” that he was going to make sure Scott Johnson would become the next Shoalwater Bay Police Chief. This he said was not true because community members would be a fundamental part of the process.

As it turned out members of the hiring committee were hand-picked in a secretive way by Mike Rogers and HR, and no one outside of their choices was given a chance to apply for committee positions. In this way, the administration could ensure that a significant majority of the hiring committee would make a predictable choice. Wild cards could easily be outvoted or misinformed of the outcome.

Uncontent to leave a stacked deck to chance, HR and Rogers had organized the group as a blind committee who did not meet face-to-face and primarily served to choose the top few candidates, leaving Rogers and the HR Director to organize the rest.

Scott Johnson Hiring goes Awry

Just a matter of days before implementing a hiring decision, Mike Rogers was pulled completely out of the equation. Despite the change in administration leadership, the hiring process would move swiftly forward under the interim Tribal Administrator.

On the Friday, January 11, 2019, Council meeting the interim T.A. assured community members that they would get a chance to meet and greet the finalists. The new interim also assured tribal members that the administration would honor their commitments to consider community input. Few people at that time knew that Mike Rogers was not only on the hiring committee all along but remained intact, that is, until public outcry and claims of corrupt process changed the course of events.

“I have talked with Council,” wrote the interim Tribal Administrator on Monday, January 14, 2019, “so we will be advertising in the community for someone to replace Mike Rogers in the hiring process for the Police Chief.” On the same day that Council removed Rogers from the hiring committee the Human Resources Director informed the tribal community on the Shoalwater Bay website that, “A hiring committee was being formed . . .” It was a misnomer that rang true to many because the process was so secretive few knew what was happening. Even many on the original committee were kept in the dark up until that point.

January 14, 2019 Posting on the Tribe’s Website.

Interested tribal members for the newly opened position were given approximately three and a half days notice to find out about and get in their applications for Council approval on that Friday, January 18, 2019 meeting. From that moment on the process became more open with face-to-face meetings replacing a much less transparent process that was carried out in secret. Despite the expedited time frame, the new hiring process generally met conditions of fairness, transparency, and community input.

Scott Johnson, due to his former position in Pacific County, had the strongest credentials imaginable even without the backing of Mike Rogers and his maneuverings on behalf of his friend. This was especially true in the early days before much was known about Scott Johnson’s character.

After Rogers’ exit Tribal Council and many community members became inundated with news of administration corruption and the dangers it had caused the tribe; few wanted more of the same. As a consequence, Scott Johnson became a tarnished applicant. Under the new structure, Johnson was plucked out of a finalist position. Additionally, Johnson failed to achieve a similar standing in a newly revamped and transparent hiring committee.