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Dallas County Commissioners Could Impose Conduct Code


By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Dallas County Commissioners moved a step closer to imposing a conduct code on themselves. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports violators could be removed from meetings.

For months, bickering has broken out in Commissioners Court, between Commissioners and speakers, and Commissioners themselves.

So Commissioner Ken Mayfield, one of the voices in that September exchange, proposed a rule that could remove someone who crosses the line of decorum. The violator could return after cooling down, but be barred from the meeting if the behavior continues.

Mayfield: We just need to be more respectful of each other, not curse, not yell, scream, pound on the dais. And you know, act with a certain amount of decorum.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, also frequently heard in loud exchanges, says Mayfield's plan violates free speech.

Price: You can't have that chilling effect. You cannot have the same discourse in terms of an elected official that you have for the public. You don't represent just yourself, you represent a constituency. It's designed to have a chilling effect.

Price, a Democrat, chalks up Republican Mayfield's proposal to election year politics. Mayfield, in a tight race, denies that.

Mayfield: There'll always be those that say that. Anybody that knows me knows I don't make any decision based on politics.

But fellow Republican Commissioner Mike Cantrell is not so sure.

Cantrell: Commissioner Mayfield has been on the court going on 16 years and here it is all of sudden an issue. And he's getting a lot of press on it. Add the two up.

Commissioners could take up the decorum proposal next week.

Email Bill Zeeble