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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


Loss of son and community support

Nothing is harder for most reporters than having to speak to a family who has just lost a child. It doesn’t make any difference if the child is five or 25, it is just not right to have your child go before you and the feeling of loss must be overwhelming and unexplainable. So, it made it somewhat easier to know that Steve Waterbury, the Assistant Chief of the Richmond Police Department, was actually finding some solace in the interviews with reporters and the constant flow of people who are trying so hard to ease the family’s pain. I won’t go into the tragedy, it is featured elsewhere in this issue as a story—I just had a few comments on the family and the community that I felt needed to be said.

From what I understand the officers over at Richmond PD have done everything from bring complete meals to showing up to vacuum or unload the dishwasher. Citizens, neighbors, city officials, co-workers from Barbara Waterbury’s job in Houston, and total strangers have rallied in the face of this tragedy.

How wonderful to live in a community that is still small enough to have a heart.

My prayers go out to the entire family and I am ever so grateful that I was allowed into a very private time in their lives. I know it had to be difficult.

That “slush” fund

Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers keeps referring to County Clerk Dianne Wilson’s Record Management Preservation Fund as her “slush fund.” Now I don’t know about you, but slush fund kind of gives me the mental impression of an unregulated bunch of money that may have even made it to the bank by less than righteous means.

Dianne says the fund is anything but a slush fund. The money comes from a special designated fee tacked on to the filing fee at the county and district court clerk’s offices. A budget has to be written on this fund and submitted to the commissioners who then must approve it before the funds can be used for the requested items or projects. Remember too, that these funds allow Dianne to improve her office without expending tax dollars on the expenditures.

She has, with court approval, been able to purchase computers, software, imaging systems, and archive the original court records on file that stem back to the 1800s. Should she be able to purchase the redaction software, those funds will also come from the fund. Oh yeah, and Dianne even pays the county IT department $100,000 a year to maintain her systems. Now she is the only one in the county to pay the county that I know of. She says the IT Director Charles Cook and his staff do a lot of work and are ever so helpful and she would much rather pay them than to outsource those funds to an independent company.

A slush fund, I think not. Maybe it is just a sore spot that these funds can’t be dumped into the general fund and used solely at the discretion of the commissioners that has Andy all bent out of shape.


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  May 02, 2007