News 12 at 11/ Friday, March 28, 2014
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- For years he was the right-hand man, but now he's looking for the spotlight. Former Deputy Tax Commissioner Dwight Johnson says he'll be running for Kay Allen's seat as Columbia County Tax Commissioner.
Johnson says it was part of a deal he had with Allen to take her seat when she retired, but things didn't go as planned when she fired him in October. Now that Allen has resigned, he's back fighting for the job he says he's been groomed to do.
Kay Allen's name has been stripped off the door, and now Dwight Johnson wants to put his name in its place.
"I am planning to run for office. Day one I go into that seat, there's no learning curve," he said.
It's an office Johnson knows well, having worked there the last 15 years, and he says it's a decision that's been coming for just as long.
"I decided I wanted to be Tax Commissioner about 15 years ago," Johnson admitted.
But in recent months, it's become a hot seat to fill after all the allegations and investigations. Back in January, even Johnson was under fire, accused of making a slashing motion to his throat to employees and hinting he'd fire people who wrote statements that he was involved in Allen's investigation. Without audio, surveillance video proved inconclusive.
"I know the throat slashing move was fabricated, but as far as most people not liking me in the office, that's not the case," Johnson said.
In fact, Johnson says most people in the office say they want him back. If he's voted in, he says he'll do things differently, starting with repairing relationships and bringing what he calls "sunshine" into the office.
"The people need to know what's going on in these offices. It doesn't need to be closed door, closed curtain," he said.
You may remember this phone call between Johnson and his former boss and the bizarre assignment she gave him to spend the day at a grocery store.
Kay Allen: "Hello."
Dwight Johnson: "Hi Mrs. Allen, this is Dwight."
Allen: "Uh huh. Where are you now?"
Johnson: "I am needing to know where I need to be tomorrow."
Allen: "Dwight, your assignment was to be at Kroger for 8 hours today. Are you at Kroger now?"
Johnson: "The 8 hours is put in, yes ma'am."
That prompted News 12 to ask, "As a boss will you ever make someone walk around Kroger for 8 hours?"
Dwight responded by laughing and a staunch, "No. That will not happen, and I can assure you of that."
As he prepares his campaign for the November election, Johnson says his reason for coming back is simple.
"I don't feel any vindication. I don't feel any comeback. I feel like this is where God wants me to be," he said.
Kay Allen and her husband Columbia County Commissioner Charles Allen both resigned earlier this month. That means two seats are up for grabs, one heading up the Tax Commission and the other on the County Commission.
Former Columbia County Commissioner Frank Spears is running for the now-open District 3 seat.