Dallas County Commissioners Temporarily Scale Back Some Of Judge Clay Jenkins’ Emergency Powers
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told Governor Greg Abbott’s Office Monday the county will use a pop-up medical facility at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas.
Judge Jenkins did so in a letter he sent to the Governor’s Chief of Staff Luis Saenz.
The County Judge’s letter was a response to a letter he received from Saenz Sunday that publicly questioned whether the county would use the convention center as a facility.
In letter Monday, Judge Jenkins said, “I was both surprised and disappointed by your letter… The statement in your letter that says that a person representing Dallas County, or I, suggested that we “would not be using the [KBHCC] for hospital and healthcare use” is completely false…”
The Judge denied it during a news conference Sunday. “At no time did we tell them take the assets from Dallas.”
What led to the Governor’s office letter to Judge Jenkins Sunday was a phone conversation this weekend between the Judge and his team and Department of Defense officials who are overseeing the pop-up medical facility at the convention center.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas National Guard prepared the facility so it would be ready for use as a step-down facility for Covid-19 patients who no longer need to be in the ICU.
The Governor’s Office released a voicemail message Sunday that a Major General from U.S. Army North left for Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd Saturday night.
In the voicemail, Major General Mike Stone said, “If you don’t know, late last night we had a call with Judge Clay Jenkins, he and his PHD have no intention of moving patients into the convention center and the Department of Defense is confused.”
During a news conference in Austin Monday afternoon, Governor Abbott explained why his Chief of Staff sent the letter.
“We needed to find out if Dallas County was in fact going to utilize this, if not, other federal officials may be moving those supplies elsewhere and that was the reason behind why I sent that letter to Judge Jenkins.”
The Governor said he didn’t know where else the federal government would send the equipment and personnel.
On Sunday, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson issued a statement after the Governor’s Office called him.
Johnson said, “…I share the Governor’s concerns, and I was stunned and deeply disappointed to hear about Dallas County’s position on the pop-up hospital at the City’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center…”
On Sunday, Judge Jenkins insisted the county needs the medical facility at the convention center.
Judge Jenkins said, “Must have been a miscommunication, although it’s hard for me to understand how this happened.”
In his letter Monday, Judge Jenkins told the Governor’s office he will have the Dallas County Commissioners Court vote Tuesday on his proposal to offer services to support the pop-up medical facility.