Update (10/24/2022): After a hearing was held late Friday, District Judge John Shrode has allowed the election for the ECUD board of director positions to proceed. Early voting in the election begins today. The lawsuit continues.
A lawsuit was filed today in Ector County District Court on the behalf of
Ector County Utility District Board (ECUD) members Will Kappauf and Troy Walker
and ECUD customer Jesse Christesson to halt the November 8, 2022, ECUD Board
As previously reported by Odessa Headlines Mr. Christesson’s original
complaint questioned the eligibility of Sheila Black to run in the ECUD Director’s election.
Christesson says that during his research he discovered that state law required the ECUD election to be held this past May, rather than in November, and that a review of the ECUD election history revealed that the wrong offices have been placed on the November election.
Odessa Headlines has previously reported on a legal letter sent on behalf of Christesson to ECUD challenging the election, asking it be canceled.
The ECUD board met last Saturday to discuss the threatened litigation, and after hearing from several citizens asking that the election be canceled, a motion by Kappauf to cancel the election died for lack of a second.
The court documents filed today include information apparently obtained from past ECUD Board records including a summary of all elections which should have been held since 2000 and provides a graphical representation of timing and election cycles for the five ECUD board positions.
The essence of the complaint alleged that the wrong seats were announced for election and that, under the Texas Water Code, elections must be held in May and not November.
“It’s disappointing that ECUD’s attorney and the board won’t simply follow Texas law and work to get things back on track for the May 2024 election” stated Mr. Christesson in a statement to Odessa Headlines. “ECUD continues to think that they can do whatever they want and unfortunately the taxpayers will have to continue to pay for their stupidity.”
“Troy and I have worked endlessly to bring some accountability to the ECUD Board since we were appointed but we continue to suffer from poor legal representation from attorney Bill Fowler,” said Board Member Kappauf, who also spoke with Odessa Headlines. “It is important to note that Troy and I are joining in with Mr. Christesson in this lawsuit and I again implore my fellow ECUD board members to do the right thing, halt the election and get our house in order.”
The lawsuit asks first for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent the election from going forward and also asks the court to direct ECUD to comply with State law and bring forward future elections with the correct board members in May of even-numbered years as the complaint says state law requires.
Odessa Headlines will continue to report on this issue as the lawsuit progresses.