Texas Attorney General Opinion: JM-1064 Page: 2 of 5
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Honorable Joe Lucas - Page 2 (JM-1064)
officers or employees. In Attorney General Opinion M-409
(1969), this office found that a member of a board of
managers of a hospital district created under article 4494n,
V.T.C.S., holds a position of honor and trust under article
XVI, section 33, of the Texas Constitution. That opinion
stopped short of declaring that the position is an office,
because that conclusion was not required for the purposes of
the opinion. We have considered the powers vested in the
board of managers and have concluded that such managers are
In the earlier opinion, this office relied on the
classic definition of "office," which distinguishes an
office from an employment in that the former involves the
exercise of any sovereign function of government for the
benefit of the public largely independent of the control of
others. Attorney General Opinion M-409 (1969) at 2; see
also Aldine Indep. School Dist. v. Standley, 280 S.W.2d 578
(Tex. 1955); Dunbar v. Brazoria County, 224 S.W.2d 738 (Tex.
Civ. App. - Galveston 1949, writ ref'd).
When article 4494n was originally enacted, the
following provision prevented the board from functioning
"largely independent of the control of others":
The Board shall be responsible to the
Commissioners Court for the operation of the
hospital, and individual members may be
removed for cause.
Acts 1953, 53d Leg., ch. 266, 4, at 692-693.
The deletion of that language in 1955 reflects a legis-
lative intent to make the board more independent of the
commissioners court and to change membership on the board
from one of agency or employment to that of an office. See
Acts 1955, 54th Leg., ch. 257, 5, at 719. That interpre-
tation is reinforced by the emergency clause in the bill,
which based the emergency on "[t]he fact that the present
laws do not provide sufficient details as to the powers,
duties, responsibilities and methods of creation and of
operation of Hospital Boards . .. "*1 Id. 17, at 722.
The county commissioners court retains some control
over the business of the district, for example, by approving
its budget and intergovernmental contracts and by pre-
scribing purchasing and accounting procedures. V.T.C.S.
art. 4494n, 5, 6, 8. Section 5 of the act, without
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: JM-1064, text, 1989; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth273502/m1/2/: accessed January 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.