Duty Drops Her Request With Attorney General

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Commissioners Court, Election 2008, Landfill, Williamson County at 10:35 pm by wcnews

Now that the landfill contract has been indefinitely postponed by the commissioners court County Attorney Jana Duty has decided to withdraw her request for opinion from the Attorney General (AAS). With the county now filing a petition to see if they can put the landfill contract out to bid, and WMI being put in a bind, Duty has decided to throw in the towel on her feud with the commissioners court. Cutting her loses.

Williamson County Attorney Jana Duty withdrew her request for an opinion from the Texas attorney general on whether county commissioners can hire outside legal counsel without her permission.

Previously, Duty said she felt so strongly about the issue that she would take it to court if the attorney general did not rule in her favor.

All the way to the supreme court she had previously said. From the AAS article on August 24th Duty had said this.

“I don’t want to battle with the court,” Duty said Thursday. But “this is the one battle I feel like I have to fight because I feel like it has to do with the (Texas) Constitution (and) the separation of powers of county government.”


Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is scheduled to rule in January, Duty said. If he rules against her, she will make it an issue for the Texas Supreme Court to decide.

“I would have to sue,” she said. “I don’t want to go that route.”

So why in the world would she go from such a principled constitutional stand (before the landfill vote), to dropping her request altogether (after the landfill vote)? Word on the street is her side lost (WMI/VE) and maybe after that she didn’t see much reason to fight for the constitution or principle anymore. Especially once that petition was filed and the outside counsel was brought in again.

Duty said Wednesday that the withdrawal was not a change in opinion and that the problem needs to be fixed in the Legislature.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to hire one of the law firms again to help with a suit that Williamson County brought against Waste Management last week to clarify whether the county’s no-bid contracts with the company over the past 20 years were approved illegally.

Bringing the suit was the advice of Austin law firm Potts & Reilly LLP, one of the firms commissioners hired, said Stephen Ackley, the county’s chief civil litigator, so the county will work with the firm on the suit.

County Judge Dan A. Gattis has said that he disagreed with Duty and that hiring outside counsel was the right of the commissioners court.

Gattis declined to comment Wednesday through an assistant.

Duty said she is reviewing her options but said she’d prefer not to elaborate.

“I really am just trying to make peace with the court right now,” she said.

Duty is up for reelection in 2008 and she looks ripe for the picking.


  1. tweety said,

    September 13, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Can someone please tell me just what her job or that job is suppose to do? I thought it was to fight the injustice/criminals when the law is broken. Does this not include the Texas Constitution and the seperation of Powers of county government? My God, there has to be someone or posistion that keeps the “powers” accountable for their ill actions.

    My bad, she is up for reelection. That’s it. She needs “The Puppet Master’s” support to win. She has seen first hand what they do to those who stand up and fight corruption. Heck, she’s been part of it.

    With her pulling out like this, in my opinion, just goes to show you what kind of integrity she has. Nada.

  2. Eye on Williamson » Duty Asked For AG’s Opinion On Appointing Gattis County Budget Officer said,

    December 19, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    […] could hire outside legal counsel without the consent of the County Attorney, which she later withdrew. According to Texas Law once a county reaches a population of 225,000 the County Judge can no […]

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