Qualifications for Board of Trustee Candidates

Texas Education Code, Section 130.082(g) provides that “Any resident, qualified elector of the district may have his or her name placed as a candidate on the official ballot for any position to be filled at each regular election by filing with the secretary of the board a written application therefore signed by the applicant, not later than 5 p.m. of the 78th day before the date of the election.” An application may not be filed earlier than the 30th day before the date of the filing deadline and must state the number of the position for which the person is a candidate or the name of the incumbent holding the position for which the candidate plans to run.

According to Texas Election Code 141.001, to be eligible for a public elective office in this state, a person must be a United States citizen; at least 18 years of age on the first day of the term to be filled; have not been determined mentally incompetent by a final judgment of a court; have not been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned of otherwise released from the resulting disabilities; have resided in the state for 12 months; and resided in the district for six months. Candidate’s names must appear on the ballot only as independents. Texas Election Code 144.002.

Other legal doctrines that affect a person’s ability to serve on the Board of Trustees:

1. Incompatibility through self appointment, self employment and conflicting loyalties

a. A person cannot serve as an employee and a member of the Board in the district in which the person is employed. Texas Attorney General. Op. LA 114 (1975); or as a part-time volunteer performing the duties of a regular employee. Tex. Att’y Gen.Op.JC-0371 (2001).

b. An individual is prohibited from simultaneously serving as a community college trustee and a member of the Texas Coordinating Board of Higher Education Tex.Att’y Gen. Op, JM97 (1983)

c. A trustee of a community college district may not also serve as a county commissioner in a county in which the district is located, Tex. Att’y Gen.Op. JM-129 (1984), or as a member of city council in a city whose boundaries are coterminous, Tex.Att’y Gen.Op. LO 93-22 (1993), or as a county attorney for the county in which the district lies. Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. LO 95-029 (1995).

2. Nepotism

Section 573.041 of the Texas Government Code prohibits a public official from appointing, confirming or voting for an appointment or confirmation of an appointment of an individual if the individual is related to the public official (within the second degree of affinity or the third degree of consanguinity).

a. This does not apply if the relative has been continuously employed in the position immediately before the election for a period of at least six months. Otherwise, the relative may not retain the position or be hired. Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. LA 156 (1978); see also Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. JM 288 (1984).

b. Noncompliance with the nepotism statutes may subject the appointing officer to severe consequences including removal from office and criminal sanctions. Tex. Att’y Gen. OP. GA 0073 (2003).

3. Conflicts of Interest

a. A local public official must disclose a substantial interest or that of a relative in the first degree by affinity or consanguinity in a business entity and abstain from participating in a vote on a decision on any matter involving the business entity. Tex. Local Govt. Code 171.002 and 171.003. Noncompliance may subject the public official to criminal penalties. Tex. Local Govt. Code 171.003.

b. The Attorney General concluded that Stephen F. Austin University was barred by common law conflict of interest from purchasing the products of a firm in which a regent had substantial interest, even though the board of regents had delegated purchasing decisions to subordinate officers and employees. Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. JM 817 (1987).

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