PARKER COUNTY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas county judge is letting his thoughts be known on new executive orders from Friday as he believes they take away control from local officials when it comes to COVID-19 response plans.
On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a plan to slowly begin the process of reopening the economy in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan includes opening nonessential retail stores for “to go” purposes starting this Friday. Further plans to reopen Texas businesses are expected to be announced next week.
In a Facebook post Monday morning, Parker County Judge Pat Deen appeared to be in disagreement with these new orders as they are statewide rather than letting local officials make decisions for their communities.
“The Governor’s order Friday essentially sucked the hope out of our community by taking away local control from mayors, city councils and the Commissioners Court,” Deen wrote on Facebook. “… We should have been given local control by Governor Abbott to allow Parker County the ability to begin the phasing in process of opening up our businesses.”
The judge made mention that Parker County has more of a rural environment when compared to other counties such as Dallas, Tarrant and Harris, which are seeing a continuing increase in coronavirus cases. Because of this, Deen said he believes Parker County should be allowed to make its own local decisions.
“With a unified community, working with our local legislators and DSHS, we have successfully implemented a containment strategy to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Our numbers tell the full story,” Deen said. “With a population of 140,000, we have had 21 cases to date, 10 currently active, 11 recovered and no deaths.”
In his Facebook post, Deen asked Abbott to allow decisions on reopening the economy to be made at the local level based on community size and spread of COVID-19 rather than having a statewide plan.
“This sets the dangerous precedent of an over reaching state government. This is deeply concerning to me,” Deen said. “… My message to Governor Abbott is to allow what Texas was founded on and allow local governments the ability to make decisions based on their local communities!”
Abbott’s executive orders from Friday also included the reopening of state parks and allowing medical procedures not related to COVID-19 to resume this week.