When Dallas County Commissioners first fessed up that an internal audit revealed that some deputy constables lied about doing their jobs -- which is to say, delivering court docs and eviction notices when they did no such thing -- that number was somewhere 'round 25, give or take. But it's growing: According to Dallas County spokesperson Maria Arita, 34 deputy constables are on paid administrative leave at this very moment pending the conclusion of an investigation that rolls on, ever so quietly, behind closed doors at The Building Formerly Known as the Texas School Book Depository.
In her first missive following Saturday morning's closed-door meeting with constables at the county admin building, Arita says this afternoon that 34 are on paid leave following Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins's request made last week. And that number gets a little higher every day: "We have just received confirmation that there will be one more deputy constable placed on administrative leave as of tomorrow, bringing the total then to 35," says her email sent moments ago.
But that's hardly the end of it: By tomorrow, says Arita, four of the five county constables "will have made their assessments of the conduct of their deputy constables and, based on the information they have before them, placed those individuals on administrative leave with pay." But one constable hasn't checked in, according to Arita; "We are still waiting to hear from Constable Beth Villarreal, Precinct 5, as they complete their investigation." Tick tock, constable. Tick tock.
The commissioners, who say this ain't their fault, no way, will meet again behind closed doors tomorrow, after commissioners court wraps. More info may come after that. Anyone want to guess the final tally of deputies who'll get a paid vacation?
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.