Paxton Files Amicus to Ensure that Unelected Entities Do Not Exercise Undue Influence Over Dallas Citizens
AUSTIN, TX -- Attorney General Paxton filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Texas to roll back powers that were unlawfully granted to an unelected body that oversees Dallas’s municipal employees’ retirement fund.
In accordance with state law, the Dallas City Council established by ordinance the Employees’ Retirement Fund of the City of Dallas (“ERF”). However, in violation of the Texas Constitution, the ordinance has a provision that any changes to the code governing the ERF must be approved by the ERF’s board of trustees. This functionally gave an unelected bodyof seven individuals veto power that is neither warranted nor lawful.
The issue came to a head when the City attempted to impose term limits on board members. The ERF board, comprised of unelected individuals, improperly maintained that the City required their approval to do so. The ERF board then sued, arguing that the limits are unlawful amendments that the board does not approve.
The amicus brief was filed to outline that the earlier delegation of veto power to an unelected body such as the ERF board conflicts with the Texas Constitution and should be reversed.
The amicus brief concludes: “In sum, ERF has pointed to no clear statement from the Legislature giving the city council the extraordinary power to bind its hands regarding the structure of its pension plan (or anything else relevant to this case). In the absence of such a clear statement, the Court should conclude that no such power exists, that Dallas’s current city council may amend the acts of its predecessors, and that the term limits imposed on ERF’s board are valid.”
To read the full amicus brief, click here.