Bellaire Flip-Flops to Support West U Councilman for HCAD Board
Despite earlier rejecting the nomination of West U Councilman Ed Heathcott for another term on the Harris County Appraisal District Board of Directors, the Bellaire City Council last night cast its ballot for Heathcott.
Heathcott is seeking re-election to the board and is the only person who was nominated for the position. Both Bellaire and the West U City Council last night cast its ballot in his support.
Heathcott has served two terms on the board and represents 32 suburban cities like Bellaire and West U. He was elected to the West U City Council in May and was nominated for the HCAD ballot by his fellow council members in August.
If re-elected, Heathcott’s third two-year term would begin Jan. 1, 2012.
There are six members on the HCAD board. Each position represents a different entity including the City of Houston, Suburban Cities, HISD and other school districts, Harris County and MUD Districts and other taxing authorities.
Heathcott told the council last night that the HCAD board serves as a business board and oversees the budget and healthcare costs. They do not get involved in assessing or determining property values, he said.
The Bellaire City Council chose not to nominate him in October after questioning whether or not he had a conflict of interest in being a council member in West U.
Councilman Jim Avioli last month asked City Attorney Alan Petrov if Heathcott’s council position affects his eligibility to serve on the HCAD board.
Petrov told the council that “the statutes pretty clear that it allows it.”
Councilman Corbett Parker said that he may not have a legal conflict of interest, but he thinks Heathcott has a conflict of interest in being a West U Councilman.
Parker told Heathcott last night that the council did not “snub” him when they chose not to nominate him, contrary to what a local media outlet reported in a headline.
“We did not snub you,” he said. “I hope you didn’t feel that way.”
Councilman Andrew Friedberg said he was not convinced that being a member of West U’s governing board represented a conflict that would be different than a resident of that city.
Councilman Roman Reed said that he didn’t think the discussion of a conflict of interest “has any merit.”
Council approved 6-to-1 a resolution to cast its ballot for Heathcott. Parker was opposed.