El Paso, Texas
Professional local government management takes politics out of the day-to-day operations of city government in El Paso, and it has given the mayor and city council more time to focus on the legislative policies they would like to see addressed.
Former city representative Susie Byrd has been a vocal supporter of City Manager Joyce Wilson, but recently she revealed she was initially apprehensive about the need to hire a city manager.
“I worked under the strong mayor form of government when [former mayor] Ray Caballero was here, and I even voted against changing the system to a city manager system,” Byrd says. “But Joyce has completely changed my mind about this. She is a great asset to the city.”
Wilson, who has been city manager since 2004, says she likes to take a back seat when it comes to public appearances, acknowledging it’s the role of the mayor and members of the council to be the “face of the city.”
Still, she is active in the community, often attending neighborhood gatherings and meeting with civic and business leaders from throughout the region. Regular monthly meetings with each city representative assures a healthy working relationship with them, although Joyce admits to meeting more frequently than that with most of them.
“This is a shared-power environment we have here. No one has absolute power,” Wilson says. “I have made great progress in developing a good working relationship with every city representative.”
East-Valley city representative Eddie Holguin, who often finds himself on the losing side of the votes in council, says he, too, has come to admire Wilson for her work.
“Joyce and I don’t see eye-to-eye, but she has done a good job carrying out the policies set by council,” Holguin says. “I meet with her often and she has always been very responsive to the District 6 office and the needs of the people in my district.”