Texas Attorney General Opinion: JC-339 Page: 1 of 5
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OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL . STATE OF TEXAS
February 12, 2001
The Honorable Rodney Ellis Opinion No. JC-0339
Chair, Finance Committee
Texas State Senate Re: Whether an individual may simultaneous-
P.O. Box 12068 ly serve as director of a municipal utility
Austin, Texas 78711-2068 district and member of the city zoning
Dear Senator Ellis:
You ask whether an individual who serves as director of Harris County Municipal Utility
District No. 122 (the "MUD") may also serve as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission
for the City of Missouri City (the "Planning and Zoning Commission"). We conclude that one
person is barred from holding both offices by the common-law doctrine of incompatibility as well
as by a city ordinance.
Article XVI, section 40 of the Texas Constitution provides that "[n]o person shall hold or
exercise at the same time, more than one civil office of emolument," subject to exceptions that are
not relevant to your question. TEX. CONST. art. XVI, 40. We are informed, however, that members
of the Planning and Zoning Commission serve without compensation.' If a member of the Planning
and Zoning Commission does not receive compensation, he or she is not a civil officer of
emolument, and article XVI, section 40 of the Texas Constitution would not bar one person from
serving on that body and holding another office.
The common-law doctrine of incompatibility may, however, prevent this dual service,
whether or not a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission receives compensation for that
position. See Tex. Att'y Gen. LOs 93-070, at 3-4; 88-049, at 2 (compensation is not relevant to
determining whether offices are incompatible). The common-law doctrine ofincompatibility bars
one person from holding two offices if their duties conflict. Thomas v. Abernathy County Line
Indep. Sch. Dist., 290 S.W. 152 (Tex. Comm'n App. 1927, judgm't adopted). The opinion in
Thomas v. Abernathy County Line held that the offices of school trustee and city alderman were
incompatible. Id. at 153. The boundaries of the two jurisdictions overlapped, and the board of
aldermen had authority over health, quarantine, sanitary, and fire prevention regulations applicable
'Letter from Mr. James H. Ragan, Jr., to Senator Rodney Ellis (Sept. 5, 2000) (attachment to request letter from
the Honorable Rodney Ellis, Texas State Senate, to the Honorable John Cornyn, Texas Attorney General (Sept. 7, 2000)
(on file with Opinion Committee).
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: JC-339, text, 2001; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth274648/m1/1/: accessed January 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.