Galveston County Commissioners are scheduled to vote on a group of budget proposals that would eliminate the county’s legal department.
If approved, the vote would follow through on a proposal first raised four months ago and would eliminate a department that has existed within the county government for 42 years.
Commissioners are scheduled to vote on four items related to the department, according to the commissioners court agenda. The first would eliminate the eight-person legal department as of July 31.
Another item would create three new positions in the county government, two new attorneys in the district attorney’s office and a legal services coordinator, according to agenda documents.
The district attorney positions would be funded only through the end of the current fiscal year, according to the documents.
Another agenda item would approve the county to formally solicit bids for legal services.
All of the items are part of the commissioners’ consent agenda, meaning they don’t plan to discuss the items before voting on them and to vote on them as part of a group of more than three dozen items.
Commissioners can decide to remove the items from the consent agenda and vote on them individually.
Monday will be the second time in four months that commissioners have considered eliminating the legal department. The proposal has been driven by Precinct 1 Commissioner Darrell Apffel and County Judge Mark Henry, who have said they’re frustrated with the level of output of the county’s in-house legal department.
In March, commissioners voted to retain eight private law firms that would handle the county’s legal business if the department was eliminated.
Commissioners put off eliminating the department officially in that same meeting, amid questions about how a transition to a fully privatized legal department would work and how much it would cost the county
Monday’s board documents do not include an estimate on what the cost to the county will be.
The commissioners court is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. today.