Monday, September 20, 2021
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TRWD makes no move to fill expired terms

🕐 2 min read

Marice Richter

The Tarrant Regional Water Board met Tuesday morning to discuss business but made no move to fill the expired terms of two board members.

Board member Mary Kelleher skipped the meeting for the third straight month, citing possible consequences of participating in a government forum with the status of two board members in limbo.

The terms of Marty and Leonard and Jim Lane were the source of a contentious legal battle in both state and federal court over the necessity of a 2014 election since the Texas Legislature last year moved TRWD elections from an even-year to odd-year cycle.

The courtroom battle ended with an April ruling by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that the water district was not obligated to hold an election in 2014 to fill the seats. The justices made no ruling on the terms of Lane and Leonard.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth had previously ruled that the terms of Leonard and Lane ended this spring but could be filled by appointment rather than election.

“The TRWD board has taken no action to address the terms of Jim Lane and Marty Leonard, which expired in May,” Kelleher said. In spite of the expiration, Lane and Leonard continue to serve, vote and attend executive session.

“By allowing unqualified (unelected or un-appointed) people to vote and participate in executive sessions, the remaining board members could be violating the law and are defying the public trust,” she said.

TRWD spokesman Chad Lorance said the expired terms will be considered at the August board member. He did not respond to the question of whether those board members should still be participating in district business.

Last month, the board hired Austin attorney Ross Fischer to advise the board on filling the expired seats. At the time, he told the board that the board that the expired terms should be resolved “within 60 to 90 days” and possibly sooner.

 

 

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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