Commissioners Court of Titus County v. Agan – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Commissioners Court of Titus County v. Agan, 940 S.W.2d 77 (Tex. 1997), the County Commissioners Court of Titus County transferred payroll preparation responsibilities from the County Treasurer to the County Auditor. 940 S.W.2d at 78.

From 1987 until 1994 a payroll clerk working for the Treasury prepared the county payroll. In 1994, the Commissioners Court amended the budget to combine administrative duties involving county payroll, the insurance program, personnel, and receiving purchase orders and their payment into one full-time position assigned to the County Auditor. Id. at 79.

These duties had previously been divided between the payroll clerk and a part-time employee in the Auditor's office, who had recently resigned. Id.

The Treasury employee transferred to the Auditor's office to fill this position. Id. After enumerating various core functions of the Treasurer's office, the court noted that payroll preparation responsibilities had not been assigned to any county official in particular and thus were not a core function of the Treasurer. Id. at 81-82.

Therefore, acting in its legislative capacity, the Commissioners Court was able to delegate the responsibilities to an appropriate county official and had the power to transfer the payroll duties to the Auditor. Id.

The court then noted that the Treasurer was given the exclusive power to disburse funds, and the Commissioners could not transfer functions involving fund disbursement to the auditor. Id.

The court concluded: "If the Legislature does not specifically assign a duty to the County Treasurer, that duty is not one of the County Treasurer's core functions. The Commissioners Court may, within its discretion, assign those non-core functions to other county officials the legislature authorizes to perform those functions." Id. at 82.