Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, left, looks on as Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins speaks about a health care worker who provided hospital care for Thomas Eric Duncan who contracted Ebola, during a press conference at the hospital, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Dallas. Dr. David Varga, of the Texas Health Resource, says the worker was in full protective gear when they provided care to Duncan during his second visit to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has been overstepping his bounds during the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic and it would appear that the Dallas County Commissioners have had enough. On Tuesday, they voted unanimously to limit his power, and he must now pass most decisions through them first.
Jenkins, a Democrat, had announced on Twitter that he was going to prolong the stay-at-home order until April 30. Recently, he had gotten into a public squabble with Governor Greg Abbott over the use of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center to house the overflow of hospitals by putting patients suffering from COVID-19 inside. Jenkins was not using it but demanded it be made available with the help of the federal government. The federal government claims Jenkins told them that he was not going to use it after all and planned to move staff and materials to where they were needed more. Jenkins claims that was never said, and began publicly to lash out at Abbott for not communicating with him in an open letter he posted online. Abbott, to this day, says that he never received any communications from Jenkins’ office.
Jenkins forced Hobby Lobby to close and used police to force everyone out. Hobby Lobby made the case that it could stay open as it sold materials that would allow people at home to make their own masks but Jenkins wasn’t having it and publicly accused them of putting profits over people.
He then sent out a tweet encouraging Dallas citizens to snitch on businesses he considers non-essential staying open.
Do you know of any smoke shop,craft store or other non essential business (not covered by @CISAgov ) ignoring my #SaferAtHome order and putting profits over public health in your area? Report on https://t.co/uERysAqFAr so we can shut them down ASAP. #FlattenTheCurve
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) April 2, 2020
Now, it would appear that the judge has been judged and will now be forced to pass decisions through the rest of the Dallas county commissioners.
As reported by Dallas News, commissioner John Wiley Price was “incensed” by decisions that were made by Jenkins without consultation from anyone else and that his methods to curb the spread of COVID-19 put a “throat choke” on his community.
“I’m getting my butt kicked on decisions you make on the fly,” Price told Jenkins during the meeting, according to Dallas News. “I get no input at all. I hear about it from other individuals that you made a decision.”
Fellow commissioner J.J. Koch, who introduced the measure, said that it would be “prudent” for more collaboration between commissioners.
“It’s a little bit concerning that there are still pieces that have to be addressed this late in the game at such a rapid pace,” Koch said. “We shouldn’t be in this place.”
Commissioner Theresa Daniel not only echoed Koch but noted that when Jenkins makes decisions, she only later hears about it from her constituents.
“What I see in this is not that we are putting barricades or barriers to progress or addressing issues that must be addressed,” Daniels said. “We agree with you and appreciate all those efforts, but we are a part of this county, we are a part of these decisions, and we have not been kept in the loop.”