2009 Texas Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (2009)

handle is hein.sag/sagtx0091 and id is 1 raw text is: ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
January 6, 2009
The Honorable Jeff Wentworth            Opinion No. GA-0688
Chair, Committee on Jurisprudence
Texas State Senate                      Re: Whether the police chief of an independent
Post Office Box 12068                   school district may simultaneously serve as a
Austin, Texas 78711-2068                member of a city council of a city that is located
within the geographical boundaries of the school
district (RQ-0724-GA)
Dear Senator Wentworth:
You ask whether an individual may simultaneously serve as a chief of police of an
independent school district and a city council member of a city located within the geographical
boundaries of the school district without violating the doctrine of incompatibility.'
The common-law doctrine of incompatibility prohibits an individual from appointing
himself to another public position, or from holding both an office and an employment subordinate
to the office. Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. GA-0488 (2006) at 2; see also Ehlinger v. Clark, 8 S.W.2d
666, 674 (Tex. 1928) (voiding a county contract employing county commissioner as an attorney
relying on the rule that officers who have the appointing power are disqualified for appointment to
the offices to which they may appoint). Because neither the police chief nor the city council
appoints or employs the other, the self-appointment and self-employment strands of the
incompatibility doctrine are not applicable here.
This common-law doctrine also prohibits an individual from holding two public offices that
perform inconsistent or conflicting duties. See Thomas v. Abernathy County Indep. Sch. Dist., 290
S.W. 152, 153 (Tex. Comm'n App. 1927, judgm't adopted) (concluding that the public offices of
school trustee and city aldermen are incompatible because the city aldermen have various directory
or supervisory powers exertable in respect to school property located within the city or town and in
respect to the duties of school trustee[s] performable within its limits). Attorney general opinions
have described this strand of the doctrine as conflicting loyalties incompatibility. See, e.g., Tex.
Att'y Gen. Op. Nos. GA-0538 (2007) at 1-2, GA-0328 (2005) at 1-2.

'See Request Letter (available at http://www.texasattomeygeneral.gov).

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