Voices of County Government - Hon. Fletcher


How long have you been a county commissioner?

I was sworn in on Nov. 12, 2014, after winning the primary runoff in May and having no opposition.  I initially ran to fulfill an unexpired term, and once the general election was certified, I was eligible to take office. I also began immediately preparing for the next primary in 2016, where thankfully, I ran unopposed! 

Prior to your election, what kind of work did you do? What got you interested in running for office?

My career background is in commercial interior construction and space planning — in the corporate world, as well as working as an independent contractor. However, I took some time off to raise my son and became very active both civically and politically in the years before running for office. Regarding the county, I was the chair of the Healthcare Advisory Board, which advised the commissioners court on matters affecting state-mandated indigent health care. I was also a member of the Election Ballot Board processing election data and communications. Both of those roles were extremely beneficial in preparing me to oversee county operations and administration. The way I saw it, I was much more motivated to work toward good public policy than a paycheck. Former Gov. Rick Perry appointed me to the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, which oversees the licensing and regulation of the accounting industry in Texas.  Therefore, my love of public service, coupled with the urging of other local and state leaders led me to consider a run for office. 

What was the biggest surprise or adjustment after Taking Office? 

Honestly, it was learning to delegate, so I could be more effective in realizing my goals.  I have always been very self-sufficient and intimately involved in projects. However, it’s critical that as leaders, we develop the skill of delegating, so we can accomplish exponentially more as we enable others to be successful in the greater goal. In addition, as President Harry Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and what advice would you give your peers across the state who may face the same or similar challenge?

The first was balancing the unprecedented growth of the county with our transportation infrastructure and public safety needs. Collin County has an average of 75-85 people moving here every day. In many ways that’s great, and it allows us to spread out the tax burden. But it also has a huge impact on our transportation network, law enforcement, justice system and many other county functions.

Another huge challenge has been addressing our rising indigent defense costs. Also, my advocacy for following the letter of the law, when it comes to implementing the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and Fair Defense Act, which lays out the rules on how special prosecutors are to be compensated. Collin County has been at the epicenter of a very public court case in which there have been recent landmark decisions regarding both court procedures and individual judicial discretion. As a commissioner, I have been quite vocal about the impact on counties and how important it is to conform to the limitations outlined in statute. Additionally, if an individual judge were to have unlimited, unilateral authority to set an hourly rate that is far above what the local rules allow, it opens the door for anyone receiving indigent counsel to claim that the county isn’t providing adequate defense, and suddenly the county’s cost would skyrocket.  Here’s why: the law states that an attorney pro-tem (special prosecutor) is to be compensated in the same amount and manner as counsel appointed for an indigent person.  [Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 2.07(c)]  

Regarding advice I would give my peers:

Be willing to research, think outside the box and ask for counsel from subject-matter experts.

Have an open mind, with the goal of doing right by the people, and seeking out the best answer for them.  

If you suggest a new course of action, ensure you are standing on solid legal ground.

Overall, do right, and fear no man. [Interestingly enough, that’s my campaign slogan.]

What are you most proud of since taking office?

One of my platform issues was to support law enforcement and ensure that we could attract and retain quality employees. In this most recent budget workshop for the fiscal year 2018, I am proud to have worked with our new sheriff to begin making needed improvements in compensation, as well as a reorganization of his office personnel, which will make Collin County much more competitive in recruiting.

What do you find are the most successful methods for reaching out to the residents of your county to communicate what your office is doing and why it’s doing it?

Personally, I use an e-mail subscription service called MailChimp and post my communications on several other social media sites, encouraging feedback. I also attend as many civic functions, Rotary Clubs and homeowners association meetings as possible so that I may effectively answer questions and concerns of county residents.

How do you describe your job to people who may not be familiar with the day-to-day of what you do, the responsibilities of your office or with the way county government functions? Are there any common misconceptions you hear?

I tell them that we are the original subdivision of the state — and the state legislature gives us any authority we have. It’s like a “city council” on the county level. However, we have different responsibilities than those of municipal governments, which encompass many state-mandated services. Our principal duty is to oversee the county budget, and while much of Texas is rural with commissioners who are responsible for maintaining county roads and bridges in their precincts, Collin County operates a “unit system” with a centralized road and bridge public works department, as well as an engineering department. I also explain that the primary function of county government overall is our jail and judicial services — and that out of 38 elected county officials, 32 have something to do with court operations or law enforcement. (The other six are made up of the tax assessor and five members of the commissioners court.) Finally, I explain that in addition to the duties already mentioned, the commissioners court oversees administrative operations, holding authority over several other departments, such as health care services, facilities, budget, public information, information technology and human resources.

When you’re not at work, what are you doing? Do you have any hobbies or something interesting you do that may surprise your colleagues?

I have always been a high-energy, adrenaline junkie, and enjoy a wide range of hobbies and interests, including being a huge supporter of our Second Amendment, and I very much enjoy a day at the gun range.  

I’m also an avid SCUBA diver and enjoy “blowing bubbles” across the globe — traveling to the Great Barrier Reef, Indonesia, the Red Sea, Mediterranean, Caribbean and other locales. 

One of my favorite activities is the annual Fireball Run, which is an eight-day, 2,000-mile road rally that raises awareness and helps find America’s Missing Children. There are 40 teams of two to four people, made up of elected officials, entrepreneurs and celebrities.  Each team sponsors a missing child from their local area. 

This year, I have two teammates, and we will travel from Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Rapid City, South Dakota. By far, the GREATEST contribution of Fireball Run is aiding in the recovery of 50 missing children, to date. The race moves around the country each year, increasing the visibility of each sponsored missing child.

What is your favorite thing about Collin County?

 As the sixth most populous county in Texas, and the fastest growing large county, there is never a shortage of entertainment, sports or cultural activities. We are close enough to “Big D” if you want to go in for the day, but even the Dallas Cowboys recently recognized what a great community we have and moved their headquarters to Frisco, Collin County! Companies from all over the nation have been relocating to Collin County, and we don’t see an end in sight. 


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