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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.

The civil service opposition

For years Fort Bend County Sheriff’s deputies have eagerly anticipated the implementation of civil service protection.

Now everyone is in a tether over the possibility that civil service could be here six months sooner than anticipated thanks to a House Bill pending in the legislature in good old Austin.

Well, think about it. Texas is an “at will” state—which means that anyone, anywhere can fire someone without rhyme or reason or with good cause.

And, when Texas sheriffs get elected to office, they usually do fire people, that is usually those who didn’t get on the political bandwagon and go “sis, boom, bah” for the new sheriff.

Oh, the deputy can be top notch with a perfect attendance record, accolades from superiors, a high performance fellow or gal with a stellar, mile-long, record of perfect evaluations and boom .. out the door because he or she didn’t put up the right yard sign.

Is this fair? Nope! But it happens. It has happened in Fort Bend County and it happens in most Texas counties at one time or another. Of course that largely depends on what caliber of creep the voters put into office.

So, what is bad about giving these employees a voice and a fair chance of vindicating themselves if railroaded because of some vindictive supervisor or because they did their job but it turns out the person they arrested is politically connected?

Nothing that I can see, in fact it just seems the fair thing to do.

While I do believe that any employee, law enforcement or civilian, who fails to be productive or does something legitimately wrong should be penalized or terminated, I also think those who don’t and are just fired “because the big guy can” should have a way to at least get their reputation cleared.

Every once in a while a civil service commission makes news because they vote to overturn a dismissal or disciplinary action they felt was unfair or unwarranted. The reason they make headlines is because the sheriff of that particular county generally raises all manner of heck and calls the media.

I think the deputies of Fort Bend County probably need civil service protection and sooner will be better than later.

Since Dora Oliva is the sponsor of the pending bill, I can only assume, since she represents a large portion of our county, that she feels this way too.


Contact skinnerc1@tconline.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:
April 30, 2009