DALLAS – Tempers flared among council members at Dallas City Hall Wednesday as accusations were exchanged about skin color and alleged cronyism.
The hot topic causing all of the discord: The appointment of municipal judges. The debate among council members at their Wednesday briefing session is a continuation of one of the most divisive discussions in some time.
And, again, it's not over tax hikes or layoffs or the performance of 911 operators. It all has to do with the politics of who will preside over Dallas traffic courts.
This past summer, a city appointed panel recommended the courts be overhauled and judges removed for alleged poor performance.
Four judges were ultimately replaced. All four are suing to get their jobs back. Based mostly on racial lines, votes were taken by council members to reinstate three of those judges.
Only one termination was reversed. Councilwoman Angela Hunt, who led the charge to replace certain judges, called the reinstatement "cronyism.”
"It appears that they have some benefit conferred by the council members,” said Hunt. “Some relationship with council members got them on this list."
Councilman Dwaine Caraway took exception to Hunt’s accusation and fired back, saying “I personally resent that and think you owe this Dallas City Council an apology for associating us as colluding with ‘our friends.’”
By the end of the meeting tempers calmed. At the end of the day, changes had been made to the municipal bench, and a message sent: The city courts are expected to run more efficiently in the future.