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Former G&F commissioner discusses removal

Former G&F commissioner discusses removal

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PINEDALE — Following days of statements, La Barge businessman Mike Schmid capped the week of his removal from the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission with a statement on Jan. 29, countering a statement released by Game and Fish President Pete Dube the day before.

Schmid announced in a Facebook post on Jan. 25 that, among other things, his “role as a commissioner and freedoms as an American were too conflicting.” The following morning Game and Fish Department staff received an email stating Schmid was no longer on the commission.

Dube released a statement on Jan. 28 that thanked Schmid for his four years of service. Of Schmid’s notable contributions, Dube brought attention to the creation of the WYldlife Fund, which Dube said will benefit wildlife for years to come.

In that same statement, Dube said Schmid’s actions conflicted with the actions the commission voted on and enacted. While the commission has encouraged unfettered spirited debate, Dube wrote, Schmid made public statements in writing, via social media and in person that were directly contrary to votes and actions taken from the commission as a whole.

“That type of behavior unfortunately undermined the actions of the governor, the commission and the department,” Dube said. “Mike’s failure to support the duly enacted commission actions has harmed the important actions taken by the commission, the department and the governor.”

The following morning Schmid responded to Dube’s statement with another Facebook post.

Schmid said he spent hours talking with people to keep them engaged and make them feel heard by the Game and Fish Commission.

“When I had reservations about certain issues I spoke the truth to the folks,” Schmid wrote. “I felt that someone in my position speaking the truth that may align with their thoughts would give them hope that they had a commissioner that heard them and in turn get them more active in the process.”

Schmid said following in line with the commission, when the public knew his perspective on matters, was “the very reason why they had no confidence in either” the department or commission.

“I wanted them to trust me and know that I was hearing them and wanted to represent them,” Schmid said. “Speaking the truth garners trust. Folks know BS when it is spoke.”

He said he was never asked to stop any of his actions. He also claimed he was emailing questions on the agenda items to Game and Fish headquarters about the commission meeting about an hour before the governor’s email informed him of his release.

“This was a total surprise,” Schmid said. “There is more to this than is (sic) what is in this BS statement.”

Dube’s statement said the commission hopes Schmid continues to be involved in important wildlife issues.

That statement closed by reiterating it was the clashing of views that resulted in Schmid’s removal from the board.

“The management of those wildlife resources requires that after spirited intelligent and informed debate by the public, the department and the commission, the action publicly voted on and enacted by the commission must be followed and respected.” Dube said. “No commissioner or department employee should be allowed to undermine the important actions taken by the commission or the governor.”

Schmid, owner of SOS Well Services, said if future commissioners hold that same ideology, no change will come from the commission.

Schmid was appointed to the commission by former Gov. Matt Mead in 2017, representing District 3 that encompasses Sublette, Lincoln, Uinta and Teton counties.

Kenneth D. Roberts, the 3rd District Court Clerk in Kemmerer, was introduced as Schmid’s replacement on Jan. 27. Roberts attended the Jan. 28-29 Game and Fish Commission meeting and is subject to state Senate approval.

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