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Friday, September 2, 2011

Contables Seek Federal Court Assistance Over Corruption Retaliation

Dallas County constables ask federal judge to stop job cuts they see as retaliation against whistleblowers
The Dallas News by Stephanie Collins - August 30, 2011

A group of Dallas County constables were in federal court Tuesday to ask a judge to stop county commissioners from eliminating more than 30 positions from their staffs. Constables Ben Adamcik, Jim Gilliand, Beth Villarreal and Roy Williams Jr. are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the cuts. They say the jobs are being eliminated as retaliation connected to a whistleblower investigation into potential misconduct by Commissioner John Wiley Price, former Constable Jaime Cortes and Constable Derick Evans. But county officials say the positions are being cut because of budget issues and that some of the duties will are being shifted to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. “If [the constables] want to run for commissioner, they can,” said Dolena Westergard, assistant district attorney for Dallas County. “But at this point they’re just constables, and their opinions are of no value.” U.S. District Judge Royal Ferguson granted the constables a hearing on Sept. 29 and 30 for a preliminary injunction so that witnesses can testify on the issue. “This raises serious concern that decisions are being made to retaliate against people exercising their 14th Amendment rights,” the judge said. “There has to be strong proof that we’re talking about retaliation.” The proposal was on the commissioners’ agenda for Tuesday morning, but the court delayed its vote until the judge rules on the matter. WFAA-TV (Channel 8) contributed to this report. STEPHANIE COLLINS Staff Writer -

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