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Bug Tussle at the County

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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