Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions and Ethics Advisory Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from July 11 through August 13, 2019.

KP-0265 (Dual Office Holding): Article XVI, Section 40 of the Texas Constitution, which prohibits dual office holding in certain circumstances, does not prevent the City of Ranger chief of police from simultaneously serving as city manager.

The common-law doctrine of self-employment incompatibility prohibits one person from holding an office and an employment that the office supervises. Language in the City of Ranger City Charter suggests that the city manager may supervise the chief of

police. To the extent that is the case, an individual may not serve in the two separate positions of city manager and chief of police.

If the city commission exercised its authority to combine the roles of city manager and chief of police, the city commission could employ a single individual to perform both roles without raising concerns about self-employment incompatibility.

Tex. Ethics Comm’n Op. No. 550 (Political Advertising): A public officer, including a statewide officer, legislator, county officer, municipal officer, or school district officer, would be prohibited from using government resources, such as the officer’s office in a government building, to create a photograph, video, or other communication for political advertising because the officer has custody or possession of the government resources by virtue of holding the public office.