Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Blames Bruce Sherbet for Appointment of New Elections Administrator, Then Bolts

Categories: Politics
Sherbet_rally2.jpg
Photos by Sam Merten
The scene outside the Dallas County Administration Building this afternoon.
[This story has been updated to amend the quote from Darlene Ewing.]

A passionate group of approximately 100 election judges, precinct chairs and other folks from all sides of the political spectrum chanted "We want Bruce back! We want Bruce back!" as the Dallas County Election Commission met behind closed doors this afternoon to determine the next elections administrator following the abrupt resignation of Bruce Sherbet. Sherbet retired after Commissioner John Wiley Price told him in a private meeting that he had been at his position long enough.

When the commission emerged after discussing the issue for more than an hour, longtime Assistant Elections Administrator Toni Pippens-Poole had been named temporary administrator in a 4-1 vote, with her evaluation to occur no more than 30 days after May's municipal elections.

"It was a complete railroad. A complete railroad," Dallas County Republican Party chair and committee member Jonathan Neerman told Unfair Park afterward. "They knew when they were going in that they were going to appoint Toni Pippens-Poole."

Dallas County Judge and committee member Clay Jenkins told reporters that Sherbet hadn't contacted him about the meeting or his resignation, claiming he read about Sherbet's decision to bolt in the newspaper. He said the meeting was called to review Sherbet's performance, but because Sherbet resigned, the committee was forced to appoint his replacement.

"I wish Mr. Sherbet well in his endeavors," he said. "I thank him for his service to the county."

Sherbet_rally3.jpg
Clay Jenkins
Jenkins stressed that he believes strongly in performance reviews, and said he expressed to Sherbet the he "had some areas that I thought we should focus on" in a December meeting. 

With an angry crowd of Sherbet supporters packed inside the commissioners court waiting to hear from Jenkins, he darted out the back door without making a public appearance.

Democratic Party chair and committee member Darlene Ewing said Sherbet wouldn't have been fired at the meeting. She also said Sherbet had a target on his back.

"I only know what the judge has told me, which is: 'I never put out an agenda that his job was under attack. All I wanted was a review of the Elections Department by a committee that hasn't met in 24 years. And then he suddenly resigns. Why is he afraid to come in and have us review his performance in the Elections Department?'"

Neerman, the only vote cast against Pippens-Poole, told reporters that he finds it "shameful" that Jenkins or anyone else would blame Sherbet. He also said two votes were taken before Pippens-Poole was appointed. The first motion was to open the meeting to the public, and the second was to appoint Sherbet as elections administrator. Both failed with 3-2 votes, with Neerman and Ewing voting in favor of both.

Sherbet_rally1.jpg
The scene inside the commissioners court this afternoon.
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107 comments
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Jeneheffer
Jeneheffer

Clay Jenkins is a major wimp and a step and fetch it boy of JWP. Only Dickey has the courage to stand up for the interest of the citizens of DCC. It is a sad state of affairs in Dallas County RUN by JWP, who is a thug and bully. Please attend the meeting at DCC to see for yourself.

Donnybbq
Donnybbq

If you support and believe that Bruce Sherbert was the ultimate County Elections Administrator, then you must believe that the senior staff that HE selected and appointed are of equal caliber. County elections , like any other department, business, etc. depends on superior staff. The greatest leadership characteristic is picking the best team and assistants! Bruce Sherbert did that!!! Toni Pippins-Poole was selected by Bruce Sherbert to be his Deputy Administrator!! He entrusted in her the same qualities and competence that he embraced. It's a shame that politics have overwhelmed the appointment of the most qualified, committed, competent, experienced, respected, and loyal to all the voters of Dallas County, Deputy Elections Admistrator: Ms. Toni Pippins-Poole. That's why Bruce Sherbert appointed her to the job!!!!

Donny Walker

Royandpeg
Royandpeg

I see you have links to Bruce, Jenkins, Ewing, but not Price, who apparently was the reason Bruce resigned after hearing from him. Price "felt" ? he was around too long.n Bruce has faced all sorts of uneeded stuff in the past, waht was different here? So please, someone who knows, expand on Prices role. And I wonder how long is too long for Price to be around as well. If Bruce's job had been a private sector job, and the head man was doing well, he would not be told he was there too long. It seems (I say seems as I am outside looking in) that once again our local government is flexing some "odd" muscle and not putting the people they represent first. Regardless of party. I have trained under Mr. Sherbet, and met him briefly. He always conducted himself professionally.

Larry
Larry

This Jenkins character is a joke and a tool. He can't return to Waxahachie soon enough. I wonder how much Price paid him to pull this stunt.

Goodgovernance
Goodgovernance

The tragic irony here is that if it were not for the Libertarians going for some unknown and lost cause candidate of their own silliness, the County Judge race would have gone to Wade Emmert. Pretty sure many of those Libertarians who voted are some of the biggest protesters of Jenkins actions now.

Charolette Ragsdale
Charolette Ragsdale

We all know this is a far left attempt to control a fair election process in the future of elections. At least Bruce Sherbert ran a fair process through and through. This is a total hypocrisy to our democracy. I believe this fight is far from over because people are very upset about this one.

Dallasdem1980
Dallasdem1980

Next on the list........

Darlene Ewing.

Didn't step and fetch for jwp.

Only a matter of time .

Admonkey
Admonkey

Last time I checked, Darlene wasn't a county employee and JWP wasn't a SDEC member.

And it's always "a matter of time" before party chairs step aside and new ones take their place (see Molberg, Ken), particularly in large urban counties-- and JWP has nothing to do with it.

Ewalley1
Ewalley1

I am a proud Clay Jenkins supporter. I appreciate his efforts to bring professionalism to County government. It must be incredibly painful for him to make such an honest effort and be so unfairly vilified. I look forward to good things from him and Dallas County going forward.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

This is irony, isn't it? You can't honestly think that this was well handled and done for a good purpose?

Joe
Joe

Hinky Jenky is a puppet. There's nothing honorable about him.

Tony In Dallas
Tony In Dallas

How do we start a petition recall election against Clay Jenkins?

Cason5
Cason5

Jenkins is a disgrace! New kid on the block showing us how it's to be done! See ya in the next election!

crispinTx
crispinTx

I think you have misquoted Darlene. If you are talking about the discussion that the two party chairs had with the crowd after the meeting, I believe that she was actually quoting Clay Jenkins when she said that. At least that was my impression. I think you should clarify this, because you're making it look like she agreed with Jenkins and that was not my recollection.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Thanks for the heads-up. I did take another listen to my audio from the interview after the crowd had dispersed. And while I originally thought there was a break between what she was quoting from Jenkins and her own thoughts, she was in fact continuing to express what Jenkins had told her. It has been corrected above, and I apologize to Ms. Ewing.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

The most striking thing about these posts is that Betty Culbreath is making sense!

Clay Jenkins has started his term in office by (1) handing his testicles to John Wiley Price while, (2) simultaneously shooting himself in the foot. Damn good job of self-dissection for less than one month in office.

Billygoat52
Billygoat52

Even though there will be a 30 day post election evaluation of Pippen-Poole, we were told that it will take 4 out of 5 votes to remove her.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

Care to offer an alternative? Maybe you can get the TX Lege to rewrite election code for you, as well?

Swannangela
Swannangela

I have been an election judge, clerk and deputy registrar. The only reason why this has happened is because of the Texas State Legislature. John Wiley Price is nervous about Voter ID Legislation. He is also nervous about the straight party ticket option that is being debated upon right now. If that bill passes and becomes a law then it means that Republicans in Dallas County would not lose by such a big margin.

I have seen the way Democrats vote and it's usually a straught party ticket. Did they even know who Clay Jenkins is? Or that he is our County Judge? People need to do their research before they vote, because you probably don't know much about the candidates..

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

You had a typo. I fixed it:

"I have seen the way Republicans vote and it's usually a straight party ticket. Did they even know who their candidates are? Or what their positions do? People need to do their research before they vote, because you probably don't know much about the candidates..."

Nunya
Nunya

Newsflash: Republicans are also benefitting from the straight ticket.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Well, now we know why the Dallas County machine hired him from Waxahachie.

Congratulations, Mr. Jenkins-- you may well be the most loathsome elected official in Dallas County, and that's quite an accomplishment!

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

Jenkins and his mother have been progressive activists concerned with civil rights for much of their lives, involved in Dallas politics for years, and Jenkins was quite comfortable to take a pay cut to work for the Dallas County community he calls home and diminish the unconstructive chaos in the Commissioners Court that had become norm the past few years. It's a shame that Bruce and Neerman created this little bit of chaos and brought it into the Court.

what's up with that
what's up with that

Tracy: I know you and I know you are very new to the area. Clay did not take a pay cut. Clay was a loser, mediocre attorney that also owned a dental insurance prep scam company. When Clay got elected as head of Dallas County---trust me, that was way way too high for his limited brain power. He was a no-body before and now he is nothing more than JWP's lackey.

took a pay cut, my ass...he's pulling in $167,000+ full county benefits and he just puts in about 5-10 hrs a week for that pay....still operates his low life law practice...and still runs the insurance scam dental insurance company....took a pay cut---what a hoot!!!!

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

"what's up with that", I don't know who the heck you are other than a hack who likes to write fact-free snark anonymously. Bravo.

crispinTx
crispinTx

Talk about blame the victim, with that little swipe at Bruce. I guess you've shown you're going to be a Jenkins apologist. I'd just point out that Bruce's many supporters of long-time, experienced activists from both sides of the political spectrum are a testament to the man's sterling character and integrity. Whereas the rapid outcry against JWP and his cronies is because many people have prior experience with their tactics in the past. Myself included.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

I'm interested in how I'm supposed to disagree with you without being an "apologist"? I could say the same thing about you re: Bruce without concocting conspiracy theories to justify it.

I like Bruce. I think he's done a pretty good job as election admin. I never thought he was "Saint Sherbet", perfect and eternal, before this week, though, and I sure don't now.

claytonauger
claytonauger

Oh please. The guy lived in Ellis Co. until right before he run. Never got involved with the fight over the cement plants there. Never got involved in any high profile social justice fights of ANY kind in DFW. HE was unknown to most Dallasites. The guy dug his own hole. Anyone with real character wouldn't have run out the back door.

shrubstex
shrubstex

With some rare exceptions, we get what we pay for. Clay Jenkins was signed , sealed, and delivered by our Dallas County Democratic Party Establishment, This is a great example of why we need to change the process of nominating, selecting, and election of our public officials. There are just too many choices for the voter to have to make inside a voting booth. Clay Jenkins was elected without any vetting to speak of. He just kept his mouth shut in the primaries, got key endorsements in the primary, and road the straight ticket voting express in November. He has only been a Dallas resident since 2006. As a young man his political contributions have been made to all the traditional trial lawyer favorites in the Democratic Party. He had no experience of any sort to run on, and we are finding out that he was picked by Price and West . Well he has failed his first test. Hindsight is always 20-20.

NealK
NealK

Well, he is clearly as dumb as a rock, so now we know.

Native Son
Native Son

Folks keep saying Jenkins is a product of the Dallas County Democratic Party establishment. Go look -- those who won't learn from history are doomed... well, surely you KNOW the saying! The other saying you ought to remember is this: Follow the money.

Under learning from history: Jenkins worked, in his voter protection role, for Obama Dallas, not for the Obama campaign. The title he created for himself when he ran for County Judge was not the title he had during the 2008 presidential campaign -- ObamaDallas founder and empress Molly Hanchey created it and fostered it through her organization the Progressive Center, where Jenkins had his campaign office and where TracyClinton -- Jenkins' ONLY friend on this thread! -- worked. The actual Obama campaign had never heard of Jenkins, but far be it from them to down "an up-and-coming young Democrat bringing a fresh face (ick! LOOK at that photo above!) to Texas politics." The "establishment" so frequently cited here and in other places included not Democratic Party insiders and workers -- the precinct chairs and election workers sure didn't support him, as we all saw yesterday, and while Ewing is careful about trashing one of her own, she was clearly unhappy with these actions against Sherbet. Jenkins had the support of John Wiley Price, Royce West, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and the smaller fish from JWP's Commissioners District 3. They were his first supporters, the ones who showed up on his campaign literature.

On folllow the money: Look closely at his campaign contributions, incoming and outgoing. He contributed to Republicans, including George W., and they responded in kind -- Jenkins' campaign was paid for by HUGE Republican contributors along with hundreds of trial lawyers from all over the state, and some even beyond the borders of Texas. He raised almost no money here in Dallas County from anyone but his trial lawyer buddies.

The Dallas County Democratic Party supported him as a part of their ticket after he won his primary. That's how it works. But while most Democratic candidates in Dallas won by comfortable margins, Jenkins didn't even earn a majority -- like they did with DA Watkins, Democrats crossed the line and voted against him or just didn't vote in his race.

Yes, we got wnat we paid for. But please, look who paid to sell this scum-sucking coward to us in the first place.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

Loving the "scum-sucking coward" comment from an anonymous poster, btw. Shows courage in your convictions.

NativeSon, sounds like you're someone who is still bitter about past Dem primaries and it's causing you to freak out. I'd like to do some impromptu fact-checking of your laundry list of complaints that come almost verbatim from Sunny LeTot's expert handling of Larry Duncan's primary campaign:

re: "History"- Jenkins worked directly with Juan Sepulveda, the Texas State Director for the Obama Presidential Campaign in 2008. As someone who helped Jenkins set up some systems for his role coordinating the statewide voter protection program - recruiting lawyers and setting up training workshops for lawyers around the state - I saw it with my own "lyin' eyes" what he was doing. But who am I going to believe?- Jenkins didn't office out of the Progressive Center, and had very little to do with the Progressive Center after he declared his candidacy. We were in the same building, along with State Rep. Eric Johnson, Judge Julia Hayes, and many other candidates and causes, though on opposite sides of that building. Sometimes I would have lunch with my friends in his office and talk shop, but that's just what happens when you're within a block of each other.- Jenkins had plenty of support from Precinct Chairs, just not vigorous support from passionate supporters on the Duncan or Foster supporter lists like you. I don't blame them, really. Just like you, their feelings were hurt that their person didn't win the primary. Not all my choices did either, but I'm not whining and making up stuff to make myself feel better. I guess I sold out to adulthood.- I wish Darlene Ewing were doing something more to calm the torch-and-pitchfork-burn-the-jenkins-witch! crowd, but I think she's handling this as diplomatically as she can, and probably better than me at times. It's difficult because Bruce is so well-liked personally. To defend a process that was not intended to push Bruce, one has to educate the public that while bruce is well-liked, he is not "Saint Sherbet" and every political party in Dallas County has had their criticisms of him and his department. It's hard to point what he did not-so-well and show the sincere we respect we all have for all that he did do well.

re: "Money"- Dallas Democratic politics is often funded most reliably from Texas trial lawyers, as opposed to Republican politics which is often funded most reliably from people in the oil, real estate, defense contracting, insurance, and power utilities industries. Read what you will into that.- All Texas politics in general are sometimes supported in part from out-of-state persons because Texas is a particularly important state economically and politically. Texan candidates often just plainly have friends and colleagues outside of Texas who are supportive. Texans often send financial support to candidates and campaigns outside of Texas for people and causes that they are passionate about. Duh.- It's very rare for campaigns for higher office to receive and accept donations just from people or PACs that are just from their party affiliation. This is particularly true for winning campaigns. From the courthouse to the White House, candidates accept money who vote in the competing primaries. The Easter Bunny isn't real and many Dems will throw a check at Repubs in almost every cycle - sorry to break your heart.

I noticed a group of the insiders trying to revive the 2008 Obama/Clinton primary rivalry in the 2010 Dem primary for County Judge - "He's one of those Obama people!" They seemed to have carried that into the ballot box and that's unfortunate. Everybody's got their own timeline to work through personal hurt feelings, though.

God Bless!

Thomas
Thomas

I was just looking at the Archives of the Observer on Jenkins, (Who is Clay Jenkins? etc in his race against Larry Duncan in the run off last year.) Jenkins could not even answer questions back then on why Foster should be replaced. He also voted in Waxahachie municipal election while theoretically a Dallas Citizen. I think is is primarily political naivete. Jenkins just appointed Debbie Branson to the Parkland Board. One step forward in his political career, two steps back.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

Jenkins refused to run smear campaigns like his opponents, Foster and Duncan. Call the police!

The allegations from the Duncan campaign of Jenkins perpetrating voter fraud were debunked.

Native Son
Native Son

That's not naievte, that's graft. The Bransons gave him at least $20k -- I think more but I'm not sure -- for his campaign.

guest
guest

I'll never understand why people like you just spout off with a bunch of info and not provide a link or provide people with place whereyou got the info so people can look at that information themselves. You want people to look? Then put up a link or something.

Thomas
Thomas

Who is Clay Jenkins http://blogs.dallasobserver.co...

I voted in the Republican Primary last year, and the Democratic Primary when Hillary ran. I usually pick the primary where I think my vote will do the most good. I was not interested in the dem primary last year, because I had hoped that some Republicans would win a few races.

guest
guest

Sounds like you're the one who needs to grow up, it's common courtesy on the internet to provide a link and linking to an Observer story doesn't cut it. If you can't be bothered to directly link to the information, there's no reason for others to bother looking it up.

Native Son
Native Son

Oh, for heaven's sake. Grow up. It's all public information. Learn how to do your homework.

Jenkins' (and every other County official or candidate) have to file their camapign finance reports in -- wait for it....-- the County Elections Department! While Bruce was there, it was a simple thing to go down and get a copy. I'm guessing that's a policy that will be changed forthwith.

As for the campaign literature, find a Democrat -- if we were primary voters, we all received, by U. S. Mail, the "Clay Jenkins Story" revised and rewritten for the Dallas audience.

To document his support and history, you might check out an Observer story from around this time lasy year, "Who the Hell is Clay Jenkins...." http://www.dallasobserver.com/... There were some follow-on articles to this as well, when Jenkins wouldn't respond to questions. Finally, do a Google search on "campaign contributions Clay Jenkins", and look at the first page results. Second and third page, too, if you don't get too tired. And remember that he was Alva Clay Jenkins and Clay Alva Jenkins in Waxahachie before he ran in Dallas and changed his name to Clay Lewis Jenkins.

That ought to give you enough to work with for a while -- get out your reading glasses.

cp
cp

One word: google.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

It's hard to take seriously someone who thinks the system is broken because there are "too many choices", Comrade shrubstx. Sorry that democracy exhausts you.

Thomas
Thomas

I for one have always thought the combination of money and politics in the judiciary selection process one of the big problems in the primaries. People without independent means to finance their own campaigns are dependent upon the lawyer community for most of their donations. When a judge is targeted for defeat by a donor group because he has perhaps ruled against them in court (The Late Fred Baron comes to mind when he financed a candidate in the Republican Primary that took down Judge John Marshall who exposed the coaching of Witnesses in asbestos litigation), or any political consultant will tell you that a nice female name wins on down ballot primary races. We need to change the manner that Texas Judges in our Civil and Criminal Courts are selected. I spent several hours parsing the candidates down ballot and I did not finish all of them before the elections. I am a great proponent of establishing a judicial qualification committee to select judges based on merit.

cp
cp

The County Judge is simply the heard of Dallas County government affairs. It is not a *real* judge and has nothing at all to do with the judicial system.

Lonestar Native
Lonestar Native

JWP now controls Dallas County elections dept through Toni Pippins-Poole. She's long been JWP's inside-gal - now she'll have the authority that JWP wants. Bruce must have tried standing up to JW one too many times. As for Darlene Ewing - she needs to gooooooooo. Time and again her actions make me ashamed of the Dallas Democratic party.

Joanne Shields
Joanne Shields

I saw her on TV Darlene and now she's changing her tune to the Cover lie story about Sherbet must have had something to hide.

Aren't the Honest Democrats...lol......worried about all the lies?

just the facts
just the facts

I saw Darlene on tv channel 11 I have it DVR'd Why all of sudden did he resign did he have somethng to hide. that is what she says. Amazing!

Admonkey
Admonkey

"I only know what the judge has told me, which is: 'I never put out an agenda that his job was under attack. All I wanted was a review of the Elections Department by a committee that hasn't met in 24 years. And then he suddenly resigns. Why is he afraid to come in and have us review his performance in the Elections Department?'"

Editing. It is plain from the quote above what she is talking about (and who said it). Further, it's plain from her voting where she stands on this.

Creating a dust-up where none exists is your own prerogative and not really something I want to put my energy into.

Admonkey
Admonkey

Lies. Right. That's why she voted to keep him on as Administrator.

Swing and a miss by the Conservative team.

You guys have enough circular firing squads in the Statehouse to concern yourselves with without trying to promote one amongst the home team here in Dallas.

integrityisimportant
integrityisimportant

I saw her say it on tv. She said what did he have to hide about the review. Channel 11 the day of our protest. I have it on tape.

Admonkey
Admonkey

This reply is to "integrityisimportant" but, once again, there's no "reply" button to your post.

Regarding Darlene "saying the cover story": NO she didn't. She was misquoted in the press when she was relaying what Judge Jenkins said in closed-door to the audience, afterwards. She was misquoted in this article (here on the D.O.) first, and that article has since been corrected. (Right at the very top.):

"​[This story has been updated to amend the quote from Darlene Ewing.]"

Of course she knows the cover story was a fake: she said herself she was lobbied as early as Tuesday to vote against Sherbet.

integrityisimportant
integrityisimportant

Yeah she like Bruce, but she did say the cover story that he resigned, did he have something to hide? We all know the review thing was all fake. Sherbet was told he was going. I guess Dalene doesn't want the dog pack to rip her to shreds next.I say what goes around comes around. Dog packs turn and the old leader usually ends badly when the new leader steps forth. Maybe we can buy some steaks in preparation.

Spotter
Spotter

Admonkey:

Ditto on the reply button. Thanks for responding, I understand now what you were saying, and I agree, Darlene's words and actions did not seem to me to be those of someone involved in what was going on.

Admonkey
Admonkey

Spotter, this is a reply to your post, but for some reason (thread length?) I can't see a "reply" button to your actual post...

I am skeptical about Darlene being a party to any lies (or revisionist history) being promoted as rationale for Sherbet's removal.

It should be plainly obvious from her statements of support throughout the week-- as well as her voting when the rubber hit the road-- that she wasn't a party to the machinations that were going on.

She was lobbied to vote against Sherbet as early as Tuesday yet her statements concerning Sherbet value and worth to the county remained constant throughout the week, despite the pressure.

The proof of Darlene not being complicit in any lies regarding Sherbet is in the pudding.

Spotter
Spotter

FWIW, Darlene did make an allusion to this (Sherbet's resignation as some sort of indicator) as well while we were all still in the Commissioners' Chambers. It was fairly subtle, and I was curious at the time why it didn't get a response from the crowd. Possibly at that point people were too heated up to be paying full attention to what was being said.

Admonkey, I'm also curious about your response. Are you responding that there are no lies in play here, or just that you're skeptical about Darlene becoming party to the lies? It certainly appears to me that there is some manner of skullduggery going on here, and unfortunately Bruce's resignation prevents us from forcing Judge Jenkins to show his cards. I can certainly appreciate both sides of the rationale - Bruce doesn't want to deal with the hassle/Bruce obviously has something to hide - but based on all I've read/seen/heard from all across the political spectrum in Dallas County, I'm more inclined to look past the Elections Department for the source of the ills.

Admonkey
Admonkey

Nice man or not, Foster was a weak, ineffectual Judge-- and sometimes even delusional (blaming voter fraud for his primary defeat) who rode a wave into office. And you're way off base concerning Ewing, too.

So I guess that's two strikes against you.

Lonestar Native
Lonestar Native

I never once heard Foster blame voter fraud for his defeat at the polls. Although we do know that goes on, what with absentee voting being what it is in this County. Foster certainly did more good for Dallas County in a short period of time than any other elected official has in decades. And no - I'm right on target about Ewing - perhaps you're just too close to her to see it, or forwhatever reason don't want to see it. But you're entitled to your own opinion, as am I.

Admonkey
Admonkey

You must have been asleep during the last cycle.

"March 2010 - Foster's hopes for re-election end when he places a distant third in the Democratic primary. On election night, he blames voter fraud for his defeat and says the U.S. attorney is investigating. The U.S. attorney's office says no such investigation exists."

http://www.dallasnews.com/news...

Facts, as they say, are stubborn things.

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