City Boots Municipal Judge Brown, She Keeps Fighting For Both Muni and District Benches

Categories: Legal Battles

JudgePhyllisListerBrown-thumb-241x210-thumb-241x210.jpg
via.
Municipal Court Judge Phyllis Lister Brown
The city stopped dancing around how to handle Municipal Judge Phyllis Lister Brown's employment and sent her a clear message on Friday: It's over. The city stopped paying her and denied her access to her computer and her office, effectively ending her employment because she filed her candidacy for the 162nd District Court judgeship.

"We respect the actions of the courts ... We continue to believe that the city's action is unauthorized," said Ray Guy, Brown's attorney.

In January, City Council agreed with City Attorney Tom Perkins, voting that city charter does indeed dictate that a municipal judge cannot remain in office while running for district judge. Brown had filed a suit against the city that said the state, not the city, governs her employment, and that to fire her would be a misinterpretation of charter. That turned into an ongoing legal tug-of-war, the city pulling Brown farther towards the muddy ditch with another swift yank with Friday's firing.

"We think it was not proper for her to be removed, so we're going to continue to trial if we're allowed to do that. In the mean time, she's not a sitting judge," Guy said. She's running for a new position while still gunning for her old one.



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17 comments
Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

City of Dallas may think they are so smart treating every one wrong when they run for Office but the chapter has never been challenged in a higher Federal Court but it will now. Fireman Micha Phillips was fired from department when he filed,I was ask to resign from Airport Board,Judge Brown was removed yet they have close to 20 City employees who are current elected Officials in all types of position.

Guest
Guest

If only there was such a rule that applied to governors wanting to run for president.

Replay
Replay

Fight on, Judge Brown. Don't let the bastards keep you down.

JS
JS

Yeah, let's elect as a judge someone who can't follow the law. Makes sense.

DaTruth
DaTruth

Her firing makes no sense. She isn't an elected official. She is an employee (or was). It's like saying your job at WalMart should fire you because you want to run for City Council.

Gimme-a-break
Gimme-a-break

 Truly absurd considering this is one of our civil courts, she hasn't been in civil court in a decade.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

Her firing makes perfect sense.  If Walmart had a written policy that said no employee could run for elected office and an employee did, that employee would be fired.  The City of Dallas has a City Charter that says Municipal Judges cannot remain in office if they run for elected office.  Judge Brown is a Municipal Judge.  She filed to run for elected office.  Judge Brown was fired.  Why does that not make sense?If you don't like what the City Charter says in regards to this point start a campaign to amend the Charter.

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

Does the same rule apply to City Council members who decide to run for Mayor? As I recall, Ron Natinsky continued to serve on City Council, but was also running to be Mayor.

Replay
Replay

That's all well and good if the rule/policy is applied evenhandedly. However, if it is used selectively and in a punitive manner, it should not stand.

Oaklawner
Oaklawner

Like I said:

"(c) If any employee of the city becomes a candidate for nomination or election to anyelective public office within Dallas County; or elective public office in another county within the state, having contractual relations with the city, direct or indirect; or any elective public office that would conflict with his or her position as an employee of the city, the employee shall immediately forfeit his or her place or position with the city. (Amend. of 6-12-73, Prop. No. 8; Amend. of 11-8-05, Prop. No. 13) NOTE: See Section 12A-10 of the Dallas City Code for judicial interpretation of this section.""The difference being an employee of the City versus an elected official."

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

 Yes, you are correct.  Natinsky was still on the Council.  Which is permitted by the City Charter section 17(b).  Municipal Judges cannot run for elected office by City Charter section 17(c).

SEC. 17. PROHIBITING HOLDING OR RUNNING FOR OTHER OFFICE.(b) A member of the city council shall forfeit his or her place on the council if he orshe becomes a candidate for nomination or election to any public office other than a place on the city council or if he or she becomes a candidate for election to any different place on the city council that requires taking office prior to the end of his or her elective term.

(c) If any employee of the city becomes a candidate for nomination or election to anyelective public office within Dallas County; or elective public office in another county within the state, having contractual relations with the city, direct or indirect; or any elective public office that would conflict with his or her position as an employee of the city, the employee shall immediately forfeit his or her place or position with the city. (Amend. of 6-12-73, Prop. No. 8; Amend. of 11-8-05, Prop. No. 13) NOTE: See Section 12A-10 of the Dallas City Code for judicial interpretation of this section.

Oaklawner
Oaklawner

The difference being an employee of the City versus an elected official. 

DaTruth
DaTruth

Yes Natisnky was in office while running for Mayor. His term on the council had not ended. Thus another example of the city charter's ineptitude.

Leppert resigned as Mayor to run for US Senate because the state of TX mandates that you must resign any office you hold to run for an office of the county, state, or federal level. It's shocking that the state is smarter than the city when it comes to things like this.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

Natinsky had left the council due to term limits.  He was not in office when he ran for mayor.  Leppert resigned as mayor to run for the US Senate.

catbird
catbird

oh yeah. I just noticed she does have black skin on her face...so I guess she skates.

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