Bug Tussle at the County

Is everyone in county government just plain nuts?

Just because you're paranoid: We may never know the real reason Lisa Chambers was canned by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins after serving just 15 months as the county's director of homeland security and emergency management. Chambers says her firing last week came because she pointed out "irregularities" in the way the county does business. Jenkins insists he alone — certainly not in cahoots with County Commissioner John Wiley Price — made the call to fire Chambers over poor job performance, oddly worded official emails and questions about absenteeism. The judge told reporters his decision — his, dammit — had nothing to do with Chambers objecting when Price's assistant Dapheny Fain asked the county's security chief to sweep her home for electronic listening devices after Fain's and Price's homes were raided by FBI agents spearheading a corruption investigation.

Fain apparently has long been a touch paranoid about unknown snoops riffling through her office and mucking around with her work computer, according to a recent report in The Dallas Morning News. A cynical person might suggest that Fain's paranoia is a case of a guilty conscience seeing enemies behind every bush, but let's be fair. If anyone ever had reason to worry about bugs and the law, it would be someone like Fain, who works closely with John Wiley Price.

But that's neither here nor there, because Jenkins has said again and again he alone fired Chambers. Commenters on the Observer's Unfair Park blog who call him "the sock puppet," implying that Price's controlling hand is inserted firmly into Jenkins' behind, are just meanies.

On the other hand, Chambers' own new blog (lisachambersdallas.blogspot.com), which has a disturbing number of Star Wars Death Star references and reads kind of like the bizarre letters we sometimes get from folk who have fallen off their meds, doesn't bolster her case for being a model county employee.

So, do we believe Jenkins or Chambers? Let's call that issue a wash and move on to more interesting questions. For example, we've heard that there's a county employee under federal investigation who requested county resources to locate and presumably remove any bugs in her home. Wow. That's pretty fucked up if you think about it — seeking county resources to hinder a criminal investigation. What could possibly make a public employee think that was proper? You'd think any public servant dumb enough to do that would be following Chambers out the door.

No worries, though. Buzz is certain Clay "I'm My Own Man" Jenkins is on the case. —Patrick Williams

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Watching South Detroit
Watching South Detroit

JWP has used county resources to enrich himself so many times that Fain thinks that is the norm. Until Jenkins proves that he is his own man and not a puppet of JWP, he will not be known as his own man. Jenkins campaigned on "open and transparent government" when he was running for election but he has changed his tune now that he is in office. He has been a big disappointment. Why does the puppet never comment when shady deals involving JWP are investigated? When the hunt for satellite dishes was underway, where was Jenkins? Was he hiding under his desk?


"seeking county resources to hinder a criminal investigation. What could possibly make a public employee think that was proper?" The reason is that Fain, like her man John Wiley, is an uppity gangsta that has gotten by with so much for so long that she feels entitled to continue her role in the Dallas County political corruption machine by demanding that her orders shall be obeyed without question. I don't fault her a bit for being a tad bit paranoid, she needs to be, there is something about the stark reality of spending a decade or two in the federal pen that tends to make a sista paranoid.