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Don't believe them -- sometimes you can go home again

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

When Robin Slack and her husband, David, moved from Texas to Osage County, she initially anticipated running an accounting practice out of her basement. She quickly discovered that wasn't going to work for her.

"I just decided I needed to get out of the basement," Slack said, recalling the impetus for an employment search that led her to decide to run for the County Clerk position from which Shelia Bellamy is retiring.

"If Shelia had been running again, I would not have run for the position" Slack said.

The next unexpected development was that no one filed to run against her, and Slack became the County Clerk in waiting as of April 2020. This meant she had months in which to attend various county business meetings and begin to learn the job at Bellamy's elbow.

The rest of the picture fills in like this -- Robin Slack grew up in Pawhuska and graduated in the 1997 class of Pawhuska High School. She studied accounting at Oklahoma State University, became a Certified Public Accountant, and initially worked as an accountant in corporate settings. She worked as a manufacturing accountant, and an internal auditor. She later worked for a number of years in real estate.

Slack traveled the wider world, to include living for a while in Beijing, and had no history of working in a government job until earlier this year -- when she took on a U.S. Census supervisory position.

Slack came home because her father, Steven Hulse, died in November 2017 and she wanted to be near her mother and grandmothers. Her mother, Sally Hulse, is treasurer of Osage County. So, while she wasn't looking for it, coming home will mean that she will work in close cooperation with her mother. She will also be in regular contact with a high school classmate, Ed Quinton Jr., who is now Osage County assessor.

"I just never thought I would be up there, working with my mother," Slack says, with a sense of the unexpected pleasure of the turn of events. So, when she takes the oath of office on Jan. 4, 2021, Slack will have completed an unanticipated and remarkably seamless transition from the world she built for herself after college back into the world into which she was born, complete with relatives and old classmates.

Along the way, Slack has developed a special closeness to and appreciation for Shelia Bellamy and her staff.

But the full ride -- from Texas to home to working at the county courthouse with her mama -- would not have been possible had she not felt the distinct urge to get out of the basement. Not that it's a bad basement, mind you, but it just wasn't going to work.