commish barrier Ropes Block John Wiley Price From Public After Meeting

Ropes blocked off reporters from speaking to John Wiley Price after the Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting on June 5, 2012. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For the first time in memory, officials in the Dallas County Commissioners Court restricted public access to commissioners between the end of the open session and the beginning of executive session.

County Judge Clay Jenkins denied reporters who normally get to interview commissioners before they disappear into executive session.

The court was packed as members of the media hoped to get the first comment from Commissioner John Wiley Price since the FBI released an affidavit outlining possible federal charges against him, including money laundering and tax fraud.

But Jenkins ordered ropes to be put up denying members of the public access to commissioners until after executive session.  At that time, Price left without speaking to reporters.

Afterward, Jenkins told reporters five separate times that it was his job to “maintain control” in the court –– even though commissioners themselves had not been briefed on the issue.

“No, The court administration office and the sheriff knew about it and I knew about it. It’s my job as county judge to maintain control of this court,” Jenkins told reporters.

Restrictions were implemented by Jenkins’s personally selected private security firm –– which works county buildings –– and not by the Sheriff’s Department.

Jenkins told reporters he was unsure whether the restrictions would be permanent.