The majority of Dallas County's courtrooms were closed today because of inclement weather, but the commissioners court pressed on and held its weekly meeting this morning. Freezing temperatures and icy roads kept us and others away, but a dozen or so supporters of ousted Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet were on hand, according to Cecile Newberry-Fernandez, along with at least 14 sheriff's deputies. Newberry is a Republican fund-raiser and consultant, member of the Dallas County Historical Association and former community outreach coordinator for Commissioner Maurine Dickey.
A handful of folks addressed the court about Sherbet, which you can see after the jump. Commissioner John Wiley Price, who Sherbet says pressured him to resign last week, spoke for a few minutes, but failed to answer a question from Dickey asking if Toni Pippens-Poole, Sherbet's interim replacement, was Price's "political protégé" and if he pressured Sherbet to rehire her in 1988.
The group of Sherbet advocates, consisting of Republicans, Democrats and Tea Partiers, whittled down to around eight when embattled County Judge Clay Jenkins agreed to address them at the end of the meeting while his colleagues met in executive session. After Jenkins issued "a long soliloquy" about his thought process regarding Friday's Election Commission meeting, Newberry says, she and others began questioning him, at which point he became "nervous and awkward."
Newberry tells us that Jenkins -- the subject of three damning stories in The Dallas Morning News today -- dodged most of the questions and said another appointment prevented him from addressing the crowd gathered in the commissioners court following Friday's vote to appoint Pippens-Poole as Sherbet's replacement. And when he was asked why Sherbet's personal belongings were delivered to his house yesterday and was told not to come back to work despite one month remaining until his retirement, Jenkins claimed he didn't know about it.
"He just looked embarrassed the whole time, like a kid taking his lumps," Newberry says.
Commmissioner Dickey is expected to place a vote on next week's agenda that would reappoint Sherbet, and Newberry says Jenkins agreed to meet with other concerned citizens that couldn't make it out today.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.