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Raycraft to retire

Dick Raycraft, who’s been a fixture in county government forever, is calling it a career.

Dick Raycraft, a trusted adviser to generations of Harris County leaders who has wielded so much influence over county policy he earned the nickname “the shadow commissioner,” has announced he will retire at year’s end.

Raycraft, 72, who has worked more than 43 years at the county, will spend his last meeting at the Commissioners Court dais on Tuesday. For the last three decades, he has served as county budget officer, most recently crafting the county’s $1.5 billion operating budget and overseeing billions more in debt.

He also has served as Commissioners Court’s top troubleshooter, called upon to fix mismanaged county departments, settle disputes between department heads, and provide policy reports on everything from jail overcrowding to the implementation of a regional crime lab.


Under a plan to be considered by the court on Tuesday, Raycraft’s position would disappear on Dec. 31, along with his Management Services Department.

In its place would be a Department of Financial Services & Planning, led by Jack Yuran in a role similar to his current one, and a Department of Budget Management, led by Bill Jackson, now in charge of the E-Business team.


County Judge Ed Emmett said Raycraft’s departure leaves a “giant hole.”

“There is no question in my mind that not having Dick Raycraft will make all of our jobs harder,” Emmett declared. “All of us got in the habit of, ‘If you have a question, go ask Raycraft.’‚ÄČ”

I salute Dick Raycraft for his many years of dedicated service, and I wish him all the best in his retirement. I’ve no doubt that he will be greatly missed by the county. At the risk of sounding churlish, however, I have to note that a few months ago Judge Emmett was pushing for this to happen in the aftermath of the Edwin Harrison debacle. I’m not sure why that wasn’t mentioned in this story. I hate to be a killjoy, but it is relevant information. Be that as it may, again I wish Raycraft all the best. He did a great job for a long time, and people like that are hard to find.

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One Comment

  1. Joseph Houston says:

    For years, Commissioner’s Court used Raycraft to do their dirty work for them so they could literally get away with all sorts of foolishness with a shrug of their shoulders when it came time to be held accountable. Many people have suggested to me that he skewed reports in whatever way he was told to accomplish “the greater good” which in poli-speak means whatever his CC masters wanted without the flack.