A 26-year veteran of Hope City Board service announced his retirement from City service Tuesday night.

A 26-year veteran of Hope City Board service announced his retirement from City service Tuesday night. David “D.J.” Johnson, who had served as director from City Ward 2 since 1986, tendered his retirement in a surprise letter to Hope Mayor Dennis Ramsey at the conclusion of the regular board meeting Tuesday. Ramsey read Johnson's letter with some emotion, both men having the longest tenures on the board. “It is with considerable sadness and regret that I submit my retirement from the Board of Directors of the City of Hope, Arkansas, representing the citizens of Hope in Ward No. 2,” Johnson's letter states. “I have enjoyed serving on the Board of Directors since November 1986. I know that the goals that I set when I was elected have been achieved. I know that many important projects have been completed during the last twenty-six years. “I have particularly enjoyed my time serving on the Hope Advertising and Tourism Commission and wish my fellow tourism commission members all the best,” the letter states. “It has been a pleasure to work with you and the other members of the Board. I wish you all well as you continue to direct the business of the City.” Ramsey thanked Johnson for his service to the City, noting that it was Johnson who fostered the drive by the City to have traffic signalization installed at the intersection of Bill Clinton Drive and Henry Yerger Street, previously one of the most dangerous intersections in the city. “Twenty-six years in service; that basically says it all,” Ramsey said. “To give your time, uncompensated; only special people do that.” He said that he and Johnson had seen numerous positive changes for Hope during Johnson's tenure. “And, we all have enjoyed working with you,” Ramsey added. “You have brought a lot of notoriety to Hope through your service on many boards across the state. David, we appreciate you.” Johnson said after the meeting that it was time for him to address other aspects of his life. He said that God had put it into his heart that now was the time for a change. “I am a man of faith; and, I have always followed my faith,” he said. “I have been on a lot of boards, as Dennis said, statewide; but, this has been my favorite.” Johnson said that he wanted to devote more time to his family, and he and his wife wanted to travel. But, he said he always remembers his roots in Hope. “I'd like to thank Floyd Young. He encouraged me to run the first time,” he said. “Over the years, we've done a lot of good things.” Johnson remained on the board after the 2012 City Board election, but had not filed for re-election, and there were no candidates on the ballot. State law provided, at the time, that where no successor has been elected to an office the officer currently holding the position may continue to serve until such time as a qualified successor is elected. Johnson leaves after having given up the post of vice mayor in April, 2012, when the board declared the position vacant, an action which stemmed from Johnson's earlier conviction in district court in February, 2012, on a charge of misdemeanor theft for pocketing some $288 in cash he took from a table at a local restaurant while the owner of the money was in the restaurant.