A promotion problem played out Tuesday before a full commissioners' court as county commissioner John Wiley Price opposed the appointment of a white male to the sheriff's command staff.
The appointment, made by Sheriff Lupe Valdez, replaced a black woman who left the department, and the change would leave only one African-American on the command staff.
Price feels as though Valdez turned her back on the black community in her decision to promote Captain Jason Hartgraves.
"Without the African-American community, which she has forsaken today, she would never have had the privilege of sporting the Stars and Chevrons of the uniform that she wears daily," said Price.
Valdez says Price's pointed words hurt.
"Of course it hurts me personally," she said. "We have the same goals; we're just taking different routes, and I will continue to work with commissioner to achieve what is best for the department. I'm not the type to grandstand; I am the type to get things done."
But the President of the Deputy Sheriff's Association told the court more than 60 percent of sheriff's employees are African-American, with six lieutenants and two captains.
"We have bachelor's degrees, we have masters degrees," said Frederick Robinson with the Dallas County Peace Officers Association. "I think we can pass any management commander or executive class or school. My question is, what qualification is the sheriff saying that we don't have or we can't get?"
The sheriff said it's not about what others don't have; it's about what Hartgraves does have.
"He is well qualified," she said. "He's been in the department for many years. He has a master's, He's qualified to do the job."
When the vote was taken, Hartgraves' promotion and pay hike was approved three to one.
Commissioner Elba Garcia was absent.
Price said his community "has two delusions of Camelot" this week, referring to 35th U.S. President JFK's potential and promise for the future.
KDFW FOX 4
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