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      Commissioners to replace stolen child support money

      Melinda Gilman Gonzalez, 32, recently resigned from her post at the Cameron County District Clerk's Office, following her arrest for alleged tampering with government records and theft.

      Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said the former employee pocketed the money from March through July.

      Officials said Gilman Gonzalez was able to allegedly steal the money, by taking manual payments that were not put into a computer system.

      County Commissioner Pct. 2 Ernie Hernandez said changing the system is a start to avoid these types of crimes in the future.

      "The first thing I would correct is (not to) shut down the (payment electronic) system till 5 p.m. Hernandez said. Either we have to reschedule someone to stay until 5:30 p.m. to make sure everything balances - you need to have better checks and balances."

      Hernandez adds the next step is for the county to get the money to the families that are supposed to receive the funds.

      "We need to make sure that we supplement that money that's missing with our money, to make sure people get their checks on time, Hernandez said. The (Attorney General's Office) holds us responsible for the collection of that money, and if it's there or not there, we still have to pay it."

      Hernandez said the money will likely be taken from the county's general fund.

      He said it TMs a bad situation for the county, but wants tax payers to know that changes in how county employees handle tax-payers TM money are underway in several departments like the Justice of the Peace courts system.

      "With the JP courts, we're implementing a centralized collections system, Hernandez said. (It TMs) to keep too many hands off the money. It's always very tempting for people to take when (the money) is there like that - small bills in big quantities."

      County Commissioners will discuss the issue in executive session during their next meeting Thursday, at the Dancy Building in Brownsville.