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Gilchrist Moves On to New Post; Board Seeks Replacement

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

She was publicly ousted as Brazos County's Director of Juvenile Services amid controversy and what the Juvenile Board contends was low morale in the department.

Now Rhonda Gilchrist has a new job in the governor's office.

Rhonda Gilchrist's departure as director of Juvenile Services was an emotional one.

"I won't lend them my good name because i'm in this business for the children," said Gilchrist at the January hearing.

In a 4 to 3 vote, the juvenile board decided to fire Gilchrist, citing morale issues in the department.

But this week Gilchrist began a job in another government office: the governor's.

Gilchrist is now a juvenile specialist that monitors grants to make sure they comply with federal funding standards.

She can't comment because of an office policy but the governor's press secretary says Gilchrist was very forthcoming and honest about what happened in Brazos County.

Juvenile Board Chairman Judge Randy Sims says he always had full confidence in Gilchrist's abilities, he even wrote her a recommendation after her termination.

"I think if we would not have terminated her, that department would be running like clock work out there -- that's my opinion," said Judge Sims.

But because majority rules, Gilchrist is gone and board members are searching for her replacement.

The list is down to five. Among them is Colin Coker, the department's interim director.

"We have five real good applicants I think that all have diverse work backgrounds in juvenile systems. Anyone of the five would be a very good choice," said Judge Sims.

It's taken six months to narrow the field of twenty, down to five.

Interviews are set to begin July 8th.

Gilchrist did work as a probation officer in Harris County before moving to Austin to work for the state.


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