County Judge Jenkins accepts some blame for shouting match




Posted on February 16, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 16 at 7:18 PM

DALLAS — It was the first major blow-up in the newly-elected Dallas County Commissioners Court, and the first major challenge for Judge Clay Jenkins.

Jenkins, who was elected last November, promised to enact a code of conduct for Commissioners once he was put in office.

On Wednesday, he acknowledged that he failed at maintaining decorum in the courtroom during Tuesday's contentious session.

"I was disappointed all around," Jenkins said. "I was slow to move the gavel."

Jenkins said he should have acted sooner when speaker Jeff Turner repeatedly referred to Commissioner John Wiley Price as "chief mullah" and compared him to a tribal leader.

Those words led to a shouting match, with Commissioner Price telling speakers "you are all white" and  "go to hell."

Jenkins said he spoke with Price personally about the incident, but did not wish to reveal what he told him.

Former County Judge Jim Foster said keeping all the Commissioners in line will be a challenge. "There is no one I know who can bring John Wiley Price to order," he said.

Foster  had his share of fights with Price during his years on Commissioners Court. He said sheriff's deputies should be added to the courtroom to help maintain civility.

"We need a code of conduct that has some teeth in it; we've said that for years," Foster said.