City Manager Evaluated ; Will not be given raise

Mayor: emails were "significant issue"

EL PASO,Texas - El Paso City Council gave City Manager Joyce Wilson her evaluation in executive session Tuesday and Mayor John Cook said private emails played a role in the city's top employee's work performance measure. Wilson has earned a satisfactory score but will not be getting a raise, said Cook.

Each of the eight city representatives filled out a survey that included open ended questions and a comment section. The mayor's staff then averaged out the scores without the mayor looking at them, said Cook. Wilson's score was 3.69 out of 5, which is satisfactory but lower than other years. Cook said the council had set forth a performance improvement plan, but refused to release details of the plan.

"It's a personnel issue. I think it would be inappropriate to (talk about it in public). My motto has always been that you criticize in private and you praise in public. I've done that in my professional career with the telephone company and in raising my children. I've never scolded one of my children in public. It is private and personal. We were candid with Ms. Wilson in executive session," the Mayor said.

After the executive session ended, Cook said they highlighted strengths and weaknesses of the city manager.

Wilson thanked City Council for their "affirmation of support" after they evaluated her. "I want to thank all of you for your constructive critique of things we need to address within the organization and that I need to address personally." She then released a statement in which she once again publicly apologized for the emails. Through the statement, Wilson also said the emails "created an unfortunate distraction from the important work of the city and a regrettable conflict in relationships with ... some members of council." The City Manager said she's committed to rebuilding those damaged relationships

Cook had asked that Wilson's evaluation be moved up before the end of the year because of emails from Wilson that became public that some interpreted as mean-spirited.

In one email she called ballpark opponents "crazies" and in a separate email she referred to City Representatives Carl Robinson and Ann Morgan Lilly as having the beginnings of dementia. "That was a very significant issue. I think Ms Wilson has apologized numerous times and the council expressed their opinions on the emails but right now it's time to move on." Cook said the city has significant challenges ahead, with the move out of city hall to make way for a new baseball stadium and the implementation of bond projects recently approved by voters. The "email dabacle" are a distraction of city business, he said.

Rep. Robinson said he felt the evaluation was appropriate but wished council had taken more action. "I indicated to Ms. Wilson that I was disappointed and that the abundance of emails need to be addressed specifically and publicly. Depending on who may read those emails, some of them could be considered slanderous so I feel that there needs to be an action plan to address those not only today but in the future."

Wilson, through her statement, said she learned "all citizens are entitled to be heard and treated with respect, as are elected officials regardless of their respective positions on issues. Processes and relationships are equally as important as results."

She plans to work to oversee a smooth transition out of city hall, the construction of the ballpark and the pending bond projects, Wilson said. She plans to fulfill her contract with the City which ends on Sept. 30, 2014.

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