Transportation

Montgomery County Attorney Says Commissioners’ Actions Will Not Void Election Results

Opinion looks at how commissioners put a roads bond issue on the November ballot.

At issue is whether the results of November’s election could be voided, because of an email exchange between some Montgomery County commissioners and a tea party group concerning a $280 million road bond package.

In an opinion, First Assistant County Attorney B.D. Griffin says the election was called in accordance with the state’s Open Meetings Act.

“The action for calling for the road bond election in November was done in a property noticed meeting,” says Griffin. “There were deliberations in open court by all the commissioners.”

Griffin says the key point is that commissioners put the issue on the ballot in an open forum.

“Deliberations, even improper deliberations, prior to a properly-noticed open meeting where the action is actually taken, do not void or make voidable the subsequent action taken,” Griffin explains.

That opinion was requested by County Judge Craig Doyal, who admits reaching out to the Texas Patriots PAC after an earlier road bond was defeated back in May. Commissioners Court then held a special meeting August 24, the deadline for placing the issue on November’s ballot.

County Attorney J.D. Lambright stresses the opinion deals solely with civil issues, and it’s not connected to a special prosecutor’s investigation into whether individual commissioners violated the state Open Meetings Act.

“We cannot get in the criminal side at all,” says Lambright. “By statute we can only be on the civil side of it.”

Share

Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

More Information