DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – An effort to temporarily suspend embattled Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, with pay, failed on Tuesday for lack of a second at the Dallas County Commissioners Court.
Price sat expressionless as Mike Cantrell’s motion failed almost from the moment it left his lips. “Motion dies for lack of a second,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced, as some members of the audience applauded.
“I’m ashamed of this court and how they responded to that resolution,” Cantrell told reporters. Cantrell is the only Republican on the Commissioners Court.
According to Cantrell, county employees have been suspended or fired for less serious infractions than those alleged against Price. “We have rules that apply to employees but now this court is saying, ‘those rules don’t apply to us. We’re elected officials. We’re above that.'”
But County Judge Clay Jenkins, who is also a lawyer, defended the inaction. “Employees and elected officials fall under different rules,” he said, citing a chapter of State Code.
Jenkins also pointed out anyone can start a removal process if they possess previously unknown information. Then he suggested Cantrell himself might have secret information due to his long association with Price on the court.
“Commissioner Cantrell is in a unique and advantaged position to have knowledge of relevant facts. If Commissioner Cantrell is in possession of evidence of misconduct not publicly known, he has a duty to fully disclose it and to act.”
Jenkins continued, “If Commissioner Cantrell or any individual has direct evidence of misconduct, other than what’s in the newspaper, they should act on that.”
Cantrell shot back, “That is typical judge action, right there, it is failure of leadership, it’s to divert… deflect,” the commissioner said.
But Jenkins doubled downed saying, “It’s not only prudent that we act, we are duty-bound to act. So if there is information he has, he must come forward and he must act.”
He said the court and the District Attorney’s office would assist if a proper removal process were initiated.
An incensed Cantrell pointed out that in the Price indictments the FBI made it clear Price hid his action from fellow commissioners. Cantrell claimed Jenkins is playing election year politics. “Oh, absolutely, and he ought to be ashamed — totally ashamed. But you know I can’t vouch for the character of people. That’s just it.”
Late Tuesday a judge set to hear the case against Commissioner Price and three others moved the start sate from next month to January of 2016.
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