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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 3:01pm

City of El Paso bids farewell to Joyce Wilson at Plaza Theatre

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POSTED: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 2:47pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 9:17am

Outgoing El Paso City Manager Joyce Wilson bid farewell to her city colleagues and members of the public at a special reception Wednesday evening at the Plaza Theatre.

"I feel really great, it was such a wonderful event," Wilson said, smiling. "Nice way to end a career."

After 10 years as the Sun City's 'CEO,' Wilson has accepted a position as Interim CEO for Workforce Solutions: Upper Rio Grande, a non-profit that helps job seekers in El Paso.

Wilson, who was the city's first city manager, will officially leave the City Hall on September 3.

Her contract, which originally expired at the end of September, was recently amended by El Paso City Council, allowing her to work for Workforce Solutions while serving as a consultant to Interim El Paso City Manager Sean McGlynn and incoming City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.

At times a controversial leader, Wilson cited the streamlining of El Paso's city bureaucracy, the rehabilitation of Sun Metro, and the passage of quality of life improvements among her accomplishments.

She also took the brunt of the criticism from the hurried process to build the Downtown ballpark that would become home to the El Paso Chihuahuas.

Wednesday, Wilson said the stadium has changed the city for the better.

"I mean, you talk to people and they're so in awe of it and so excited that it's here in this city," she said. "I really do feel it raised the self-esteem of this community in a way that nothing else has, and that's a great thing."

Former Mayor Joe Wardy, who was the mayor in 2004 when El Paso switched to a city manager form of government, called Wilson courageous.

"Anybody that shakes it up and tries to make things happen is going to have detractors," Wardy said. "But I think (Wilson) is going to go down as helping us move to the next level as a city."

Former City Representative Susie Byrd echoed Wardy's thoughts.

"Anytime you have hard work to do that's going to be about re-shaping and changing our community, you're going to have people that question it," Byrd said.

"But really, at the end of the day, that makes the product better, because you've had to answer those questions posed to you by people who care about their community," she said.

At Wednesday's reception, which was organized by SMG events, Wilson was honored with the Conquistador Award, the city's highest honor.

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