Judge Jenkins Responds To Abbott’s Office

Dallas County COVID-19 5/31/20
Judge Clay Jenkins

April 6, 2020
Mr. Luis Saenz
Chief of Staff
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711

Mr. Saenz:

I was both surprised and disappointed by your letter on April 5, 2020, regarding the Federal Medical Station (FMS) at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (KBHCC) in Dallas, Texas.

The statement in your letter that says that a person representing Dallas County, or I, suggested that we “would not be using the [KBHCC] for hospital and healthcare use” is completely false.

We have accepted the FMS and we have been working every day since March 23, 2020 to ensure that the physical plant and equipment are in place and fully accept the KBHCC for hospital and healthcare use as has been provided by the federal government and the Texas National Guard.

Indeed, contrary to your letter’s contentions, I am bringing to the Dallas County Commissioners Court a funding proposal for “wrap-around” services at its meeting tomorrow, April 7, 2020.

These wrap-around resources, such as dietary, security, laboratory, transportation and
environmental services to support the operation of the FMS, will be funded by Dallas County and are necessary to address the services required to run such a facility.

All of us in North Texas – Dallas County, our cities in Dallas County including the City of
Dallas, and our sister county leaders – have been working together for these last several weeks and months to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and work to protect our residents, particularly the most vulnerable of our fellow residents, from this horrible virus. Only a unified federal, state and local government response to the coronavirus pandemic aligned with our local hospital and medical leaders will have the best outcome for Texans.

Let me end here by saying again that I am disappointed by your letter. We do not appear to have open lines of communication between the County and the Governor’s office during this critical time. Instead of drafting letters, I ask that you utilize the telephone for communication and coordination. I and my staff are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week during this crisis.

Indeed, upon hearing about your letter on Sunday afternoon, we immediately placed a call to your cell phone number but have not yet received a response.

The residents of Dallas County and Texans statewide rightly expect us to work with one another during this time of crisis. Here in Dallas County, we are working diligently to meet that expectation. My phone is open to you and to the Governor at any time. If anything in this letter or any information not contained in this letter will be used as a reason to steer the FMS from Dallas County or jeopardize Dallas County’s ability to receive or obtain resources from the federal government, please contact me immediately and I will work to provide answers and a resolution.

I look forward to working cooperatively with you and all of our State, federal and local
jurisdiction partners during this critical time in our history.

Clay Lewis Jenkins
Dallas County Judge