By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
The owner of a drilling company and an outfitting business in LaBarge has been removed from the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, he said Tuesday.
Mike Schmid, in a posting on his Facebook page, said he was removed from the commission by Gov. Mark Gordon because of his opinions.
“My outspoken thoughts and how I carried them out did not sit well with the commission and leadership,” he wrote. “I wasn’t a good enough team player I was told by a fellow commissioner which evidently made it hard for the commission to carry a consistent message. It was also stated that my role as a commissioner and freedoms as an American were too conflicting.”
Schmid, the owner of Solitude Ranch and Outfitters and president and founder of Sos Well Services, did not specify what opinions led to his removal from the commission.
Gordon, in a statement, confirmed he had removed Schmid from the commission and thanked him for his years of service.
“Mike is a passionate advocate for the outdoors and wildlife,” Gordon said. “He brought all of that to the commission. However, over his term Mike unfortunately exhibited a pattern of actions and statements that undermined the decisions and effectiveness of the board.”
Schmid said he was notified of his removal from the commission by an email from the governor.
“As for Gov. Gordon’s decision, I know he has his hands full with COVID, a huge budget shortfall and so much more, but an email terminating me was a total surprise,” he said.
Given his work on the commission and his company’s contributions to the department and wildlife causes in general, Schmid said he did not expect to be removed without a meeting with the governor.
“My company has donated countless hours of equipment and man hours to benefit the department and our wildlife,” he said. “I was a tireless and dedicated commissioner. I believe I deserved more than an email, possibly a meeting to explain my position, and/or give me a chance to make corrections without compromising my values and beliefs is what I would have expected.”
Schmid was appointed to the commission for a six-year term by former Gov. Matt Mead in 2017.
As of Tuesday, his profile had been removed from the Game and Fish Department’s website.
In his post, Schmid thanked staff members of the Game and Fish Department for their assistance during his time on the commission.
“It does my heart good knowing the passion and dedication you all have for our wildlife resources,” he wrote.
Schmid also thanked his constituents.
“For those of you that supported me I apologize for letting my mouth and actions cut y ter, short,” he wrote. “For those that disagreed, I appreciated the opportunity to debate you.”
He also thanked the hunters and anglers who fund the department’s work and urged them to continue to speak their minds.
“In this crazy world of stifling ideas, voices and thoughts no matter how crazy they may be it is now more important than ever to be heard, that is the American way,” he wrote. “I beg you all to get and stay involved. Change only happens when people in power are put in uncomfortable positions, you have the power to put them there.”
Gordon, in his statement, said he welcomes varied opinions on the commission.
“(H)owever, it is critical that the commission functions as effectively as possible,” his statement said. “The decision to remove Mr. Schmid was based solely on the duties and expectations related to a Commissioner’s position on the board and the overall functioning of the Commission.”