Answers from the "Discretionary Services" quiz in the October 2022 issue of County Progress.
Please note on Law Enforcement: “Shall” creates a mandatory duty, while “may” creates a discretionary duty. While Article 5, Section 23 of the Texas Constitution creates the office of sheriff, it provides that the duties “shall be prescribed by the Legislature.” Although Chapter 85, Local Government Code authorizes the appointment of deputies by the sheriff, no statute requires a particular level of law enforcement, and the commissioners court has the discretion to determine the level of funding. In Weber v. City of Sachse, 591 S.W. 2nd 563 (Tex. Ct. App. 1979), the Court held that law enforcement is a discretionary act and that the constitution and statutes do not mandate a duty to provide a certain level of law enforcement. In contrast, the sheriff is mandated to execute civil process by Section 85.021, Local Government Code, and the commissioners court is mandated to provide a “safe and suitable jail” by Section 351.001, Local Government Code. While law enforcement is certainly an essential duty of government, no constitutional provision or statute creates a mandatory level of enforcement. Jim Allison