Foundation Calls For Investigation Of City Water Service Policy

Michael A. Smith. Galveston Daily News. February 22, 1997. p.A-6

Galveston-Gulf Coast Legal Foundation is calling for an investigation of the city’s water service termination policy.

In a petition filed with the City Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, Gulf Coast lawyer Stephen McIntyre claims the procedures used by the city to cut off water service are unconstitutional.

He also claims that water department employees have refused to begin water service for new residents in places where there is an outstanding bill and have tried to get new residents to pay those outstanding bills.

City Attorney Barbara Roberts said she’s received McIntyre’s petition and is reviewing it.

She denied that city employees have refused service to people because of bills not in their names or asked them to pay those bills.

“They (Gulf Coast) are just flat wrong about that,” she said. “That’s against state law.”

McIntyre said he wants the city to investigate and hold a public hearing about its termination policies, correct them to ensure “due process” and to draft a grievance policy.

“If the city has a policy, nobody seems to know what it is,” he said.

“I look forward to working with the city attorney and the staff of the water department in drafting new procedures over the next couple of weeks that can be submitted to the City Council for review and approval.”

He said the grievance procedure would be better than “costly litigation if all parties act in good faith.”