Name-calling, insults hurled at Dallas Commissioners Court

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on November 1, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 1 at 7:03 PM

DALLAS — Wild accusations and finger-pointing quickly upstaged any meaningful business at Dallas County Commissioners Court on Tuesday.

The outburst came one day after News 8 obtained documents supporting County Judge Clay Jenkins' decision to fire the county's Homeland Security Director Lisa Chambers, who had been on the job for just more than one year.

Jenkins said he fired Chambers last week because she was lazy and acted inappropriately. "I will not tolerate loafers using the excuse of an FBI investigation to cover up for their poor, or in some cases, non-performance" he said.

Jenkins went on to accuse her of unprofessional conduct. "I saw her drink a large quantity of alcohol and literally fall on my father-in-law and my wife at a social function," Judge Jenkins said.

Having heard enough, Commissioner Maurine Dickey later rushed to Chambers' defense.

"Judge, name-calling is not allowed in this court," Dickey said. "You've called her a drunk, and now you've called her a 'loafer.'"

As Dickey pressed, Commissioner John Wiley Price apparently could not resist responding.

"How would you know [whether she loafs at work]?' Price asked. "You are never here. Loafers of a feather flock together."

What touched off this round of name-calling? Perhaps e-mails released to News 8 by Jenkins in which the former Homeland Security Director attacked Dallas County Health Director Zach Thompson.

In one of those messages, Chambers told the recipient, "...if I hear him get one more kudos for delivering an a-c unit I am going to barf. He can't hold onto any serious staff and is a crappy leader."

Chambers said Thompson never treated her well. She insists her firing was retaliation for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing in Dallas County government.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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