Texas Attorney General Opinion: DM-96 Page: 2 of 6
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Honorable James F. Hury, Jr. - Page 2 (DM-96)
Section 116.112 contemplates the involvement of two entities in the investment
process: the commissioners court and the county treasurer.' The role of the
commissioners court is discretionary: the court determines the amount of funds
which shall be invested and the type of investment. This role is consistent with the
court's general authority over county funds. The commissioners court is charged, for
example, with the duty of designating which county funds shall be demand deposits
and which shall be time deposits, and it is empowered to "contract with a depository
for interest on time deposits." Local Gov't Code 116.111.
By contrast, the treasurer's role under section 116.112 is ministerial in
character: the treasurer carries out the directives of the commissioners court. This
function is also consistent with the treasurer's other duties. Section 113.001 of the
Local Government Code declares that "[t]he county treasurer, as chief custodian of
county funds, shall keep in a designated depository and shall account for all money
belonging to the county." Section 113.003 provides that "[tihe county treasurer shall
receive all money belonging to the county from whatever source it may be derived."
The treasurer is required to disburse money belonging to the county, which he must
pay and apply as required by law and as the commissioners court may direct. Id.
113.041(a). The treasurer is also directed to endorse checks or warrants drawn on
the county treasury by a proper authority. Id. 113.042(a). The treasurer may not,
however, make a payment if he "doubts the legality or propriety of an order, decree,
certificate, or warrant presented to the treasurer for payment." Id. 113.041(d). In
such cases, the treasurer must report the matter to the commissioners court for
further direction. Each of these responsibilities in essentially ministerial in
Section 116.112 does not define the term "invest." It is clear, however, that,
when read together with the other provisions of chapters 113 and 116, the statute
envisions an investment process comprising a mix of discretionary and ministerial
acts. Section 116.112(a) authorizes a commissioners court to "direct the county
treasurer" to "invest" county funds. No reference is made to any other officer or
employee. Furthermore, under the terms of chapter 113, the treasurer is the "chief
custodian" of county funds, and has the responsibility of disbursing and accounting
'The office of county treasurer has been abolished in a number of counties, specifically
Tarrant, Bee, Bexar, Collin, Andrews, Gregg, El Paso, Fayette, and Nueces. See Tex. Const. art. XVI,
44. Since it is a constitutional office, it may not be abolished by stature. Moncrief v. Gurley, 609
S.W.2d 863, 865 (Tex. Civ. App.--Fort. Worth 1980, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: DM-96, text, 1992; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth273905/m1/2/: accessed June 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.