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Term Limits - Opinion 2011-004

Term Limits - Opinion 2011-004

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Published by: chris_moran on Mar 09, 2012
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10/22/2013

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CITY
OF
HOUSTON
interoffice
Legal Department Correspondence
To:
Hon. Annise D. Parker, Mayor From: David M. Feidmanand Council Members City Attorney
VIA
Marta Crinejo, Agenda DirectorDate: May 27, 2011Subject: Term limits
OPINION NO. 2011004
This opinion addresses Article V, section 6a of the City Charter ("Charter") relatingto term limits and the related issue of vacancies in office. The Charter term limits provisionis a single sentence that reads:"No person, who has already served two full terms, shall beeligible to file for that same office."Notwithstanding the reference to "two full terms" in the term limits provision, thisdepartment has interpreted this provision to allow a person to serve in an office for threefull terms.
1
The Charter provisions for the holding of city general elections, coupled withthe timing of the filing for office under the Texas Election Code, require a person seekinga third term in the "same office" to file for reelection during, but
prior to,
the expiration ofthe person's second term. Eligibility for a third term, therefore, exists at the time of filingas the person has not, at that time, "already served two full terms." This result will alwaysoccur so long as the second and third terms in the same office
are served consecutively.
2
A break in service in an office between the first and second term does not change thisresult. If an elected official does not file for re-election to his/her office while still servingin the second term in such office, then the official would be term limited and barred fromrunning for a third term in such office.Prior legal opinions have also established that the Charter provides for only threeelective City offices-Mayor, Council Member and City Controller.
3
The analysis of variousCharter provisions in City Attorney Opinion 940074 provides ample support for the premisethat the Charter makes no distinction between a District Council Member and an At-Large
1
City
Atty.
Opin. Nos.
970074 (8/26/94)
&
970038
(4/8/97).
2
City
Atty.
Opin. Nos.
970074 (8/26/94)
3
Charter,
Art. V, §§ 1-6;
City
Atty.
Opin. No.
940074
(8/26/94).

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