Houston attorney Jerad Navjar, representing Mark Goloby, a local activist and taxpayer, has filed suit against Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia citing a Texas law prohibiting elected officials from holding two offices simultaneously. 

“Garcia automatically resigned from office as Precinct 2 Commissioner a year ago when he accepted an appointment to another public office in conflict with his duties as Commissioner,” the press release read.

Navjar cites section 201.025 of the Texas Election Code that says if an officer accepts an office and the two cannot “lawfully be held simultaneously,” a vacancy in the first office occurs. 

In May 2023, the Commissioner Court reappointed Garcia as its representative on the Gulf Coast Protection District. The district is a new entity tackling flooding issues, it was primarily formed to facilitate the building of the Ike Dike.

The lawsuit claims that Garcia technically resigned twice when he was appointed to the district in August of 2021 and again upon his reappointment. 

Navjar argues because of what it is tasked to do, the entity has “broad statutory authority” to enter into agreements with cities and counties within its area of operation which includes Harris, Galveston, Chambers, Jefferson, and Orange Counties. 

It also has the power to acquire property, use eminent domain, and is required to impose taxes and other fees to fund its projects.

“The District’s powers, overlapping and competing with those of Harris County itself, dictate that Garcia is not legally eligible to sit as a Commissioner while at the same time representing Harris County on the GCDP board.”

Garica has not publicly commented on the lawsuit. 

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.