More than 40 counties across Texas have passed resolutions voicing support for Galveston County Commissioners Court’s efforts in a lawsuit filed by District Judge Lonnie Cox. The resolutions confirm concerns of officials statewide that the district court is attempting to seize control of local legislative decision making, budgets and staffing.
These expressions of support come from a diverse group of both rural and urban counties from all parts of the state, including:
[CLICK ON THE COUNTY NAME TO VIEW INDIVIDUAL RESOLUTIONS]
The Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association also recently passed a similar resolution recognizing the importance of the pending litigation in preserving commissioners courts’ authority to make budget and staffing decisions in county government.
Previously, the Texas Conference of Urban Counties (CUC), an organization comprised of 38 of the more populous counties in Texas, passed a resolution urging support of Galveston County Commissioners Court in the matter. This week the CUC also filed an amicus brief with the Court of Appeals stating that Judge Cox’s actions were “contrary to well-established precedent regarding due process.”
These resolutions emphasize that the county budget and most county staff positions are created by the commissioners court. Also, individual district courts have no power to order a commissioners court to make any particular decision on issues that are being challenged by the district court in the pending Galveston County litigation.
“These are issues that affect all of us, not just commissioners but all citizens,” Brazoria County Commissioner Stacy Adams said. “Can your local elected representatives make the decisions you elected them to make or is the legislative process itself going to be surrendered over to a judge? It goes to the heart of our democratic system of government.”
Andy Meyers, a county commissioner in Fort Bend County, warned that separation of powers and identifiable accountability need to be maintained to ensure proper operation of local government.
“We understand the far reaching ramifications of this,” Meyers said. “If we’re not careful, we’ll have critical decisions made by officials without sufficient accountability. This almost always leads to poor decisions that negatively impact our taxpaying citizenry.”
The lawsuit filed by District Judge Cox against County Judge Mark Henry is currently pending in the Houston 1st Court of Appeals.