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Office of the Commissioners

Three full-time commissioners are appointed by the governor to establish overall agency direction and policy, and to make final determinations on contested permitting and enforcement matters.

Jon Niermann, Chairman
Bobby Janecka, Commissioner
Catarina R. Gonzales, Commissioner
Staff: Address/Phone/Fax

Catarina R. Gonzales
About the commissioner
and her activities

The commissioners are appointed for six-year terms with the advice and consent of the Texas Senate. A commissioner may not serve more than two six-year terms, and the terms are staggered so that a different member’s term expires every two years. The governor also names the chairman of the commission.

Commissioners’ Agenda Meetings

The following four offices report directly to the commissioners:

General Counsel

Mary Smith, General Counsel
Staff: Address/Phone/Fax

The general counsel is the chief adviser on law and ethics for the commissioners. The general counsel provides legal assistance to the commissioners for their review of permits, proposed enforcement actions, rules, and other matters, in addition to managing the administrative affairs of the commissioners’ office.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) staff under the general counsel assists permit applicants and persons opposed to the applications in resolving their differences informally, if possible, to avoid the time and expense of a contested public evidentiary hearing. ADR procedures are voluntary, and those participating in ADR do not forfeit their right to a hearing if ADR does not result in a settlement.

Chief Auditor

Mike Hardison, Chief Auditor
Staff: Address/Phone/Fax

The Chief Auditor’s Office (CAO) provides assurance and advisory services that help the commissioners and management meet agency goals and objectives. The CAO provides independent and objective information, analyses, and recommendations to assist management in effecting constructive change, managing business risk, and improving the compliance and accountability of the regulated community and business partners.

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Chief Clerk

Laurie Gharis, Chief Clerk
Staff: Address/Phone/Fax

The Office of the Chief Clerk issues required notices of applications, public hearings, and public meetings. The OCC also prepares and maintains the agendas and backup material for commission agenda meetings and work sessions, transmits final decision documents (issued by the commission and the executive director) as required, and maintains the official records of pending commission proceedings.

The OCC tracks the status of all matters pending before the commission and executive director for approval after notice is issued. These include enforcement cases, rules, permit and license applications, registrations, and actions involving water districts. The OCC schedules and conducts public meetings and hearings where the public may obtain information and provide comments on pending permitting actions.

If you wish to electronically file hearing requests or comments regarding a pending permit application, you may do so using the OCC’s eComments system. If you wish to file a pleading or view filed pleadings for a docketed case pending before the commission, you may do so using the OCC's eFiling system.

See also:
Commissioners' Integrated Database
Search for TCEQ Public Notices
Search for Commission Issued Orders
Calendar of Public Meeting and Hearings on Permitting Cases

Public Interest Counsel

Garrett T. Arthur, Public Interest Counsel
Staff: Address/Phone/Fax

The Office of Public Interest Counsel was created by the legislature to ensure that the public's interest is represented in issues considered by the commission. The office does not formally represent individuals at commission proceedings. However, citizens who have questions about the legal aspects of dealing with the TCEQ, its hearing process, and its rules can obtain help from this office. Assistance is available to anyone who is affected by a particular permit application or other agency authorization. The staff of the Public Interest Counsel also assists people with questions about enforcement proceedings.

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