Assuming New Office
Re: Time of taking office of a person elected to the office of sheriff as a successor to an individual who was appointed to fill a vacancy in that office (RQ-0257-GA).
Submitted by Eugene D. Taylor
Williamson County Attorney
Summary, Opinion No. GA-263: The person elected sheriff of Williamson County at the Nov. 2, 2004, general election is entitled to assume office on Jan. 1, 2005. The incumbent sheriff who was previously appointed by the commissioners court is entitled to remain in office until that date.
Municipal Management District
Re: Whether municipal management districts have eminent domain powers (RQ-0228-GA).
Submitted by Rodney Ellis
Chair, Committee on Government Organization
Texas State Senate
Summary, Opinion No. GA-268: A municipal management district created under chapter 375 of the Local Government Code has no power of eminent domain. A municipal management district created under chapter 376 has eminent domain power only if the power is conferred expressly or implicitly. Those districts whose enabling statutes expressly withhold eminent domain power do not have such power. The Harris County Improvement District No. 3 does not have eminent domain power. The enabling statute of any other municipal management district must be analyzed to consider whether the statute confers expressly or implicitly the power of eminent domain. A municipal management district with the power of eminent domain may use the power to acquire property for a use consistent with the district’s legitimate purposes even if exercise of the eminent domain power may interfere with a transaction between private parties. Whether property is being condemned, in any particular circumstance, for a legitimate purpose of the condemning municipal management district is a question of fact.
Court’s Executive Sessions
Re: Executive sessions of the San Jacinto County Commissioners Court (RQ-0241-GA).
Submitted by Ray Stelly, C.P.A.
San Jacinto County Auditor
Summary, Opinion No. GA-277: The county clerk is required by section 81.003 of the Local Government Code to keep the records of all open meetings of a commissioners court. The commissioners court as a governmental body has the discretion to allow or deny the county clerk admission to executive sessions of the court. The commissioners court as a governmental body is the proper custodian of the tape of an executive session, but it may delegate that duty to the county clerk. A commissioners court acts by majority vote of its members; a single member acting alone has no authority to alter court policy. A release of the tape of an executive session to the county clerk would not render the tape a public document under the Public Information Act. Such a tape may be released to the public only under court order.