Dallas County Commissioners voted along party lines this week to reject a consulting contract for resigned Election Administrator Bruce Sherbet.
After 24 years on the job, Sherbet said last month he resigned under pressure from veteran Democratic Commissioner John Wiley Price and new Democratic County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Sherbet didn’t appear at Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting but dozens of his devotees did to show their support.
They cheered when Republican County Commissioner Maurine Dickey proposed using Sherbet’s experience as a consultant for the county.
“We were jolted out of our comfort zone by the unexpected forced resignation of Bruce Sherbet,” Dickey said. “I’ve gotten a deluge of emails and calls. I notice many of you are down here because you’re concerned about this,” she said.
Mike Cantrell, the only other Republican left on the five member Commissioners Court after last year’s election, also supported Dickey’s proposal.
“Bruce was well respected across the board and maintained a reputation of fairness, honesty and effectiveness,” Cantrell said.
Jenkins said he called an unusual meeting last month of the County Election Commission that appointed Sherbet years ago because he wanted to begin a review of Sherbet’s performance, but not because he wanted to force Sherbet out.
But before the January 28 meeting, Sherbet resigned and his assistant, Toni Pippins-Poole was appointed as his interim replacement.
“This went off the rails and it was not my intention for things to happen the way that they’ve happened but I stand by my belief that we need performance reviews,” Jenkins said. “We are facing tremendous budget constraints and we’ve got to learn to do more with less.”
Veteran Democratic Commissioner John Wiley Price said it was time for a new election supervisor.
Price said Sherbet overlooked election irregularities; failed to properly staff busy polling places and oversaw weak voter registration efforts for increasingly Democratic Dallas County.
“Is it because of the changing demographics? Is that because no one wants to see certain populations registered to vote,” Price asked.
Elba Garcia, the other new Democrat elected to Commissioners Court in November, sealed a 3 to 2 vote against a consulting contract for Sherbet.
“It would be a good bi-partisan effort, however I don’t believe it is workable or even legal,” Garcia said.
Dallas County Democratic Party Chairperson Darlene Ewing and Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Neerman both told NBCDFW that they had no problems with Sherbet.
Sherbet hasn’t returned calls for comments but has told several people he’s ready to move on.