On Thursday, May 23, 2013 the mayor’s office issued a press release to the media advising the community that he has unilaterally decided that Joyce Wilson will not get the performance review she had requested. Two things immediately stand out and they both demand further citizen scrutiny.

The first is that the mayor, through his press release, stated that he will no longer discuss the issue with the citizens of El Paso. In other words, don’t ask because he will not discuss this with the community. Interestingly and apparently purposely the mayor issues a press release telling the community that he will no longer discuss this issue on a Thursday before a three-day weekend.

City Hall is closed on Fridays.

I requested a copy of the press release via email to the Mayor’s office on Thursday at 11:43 in the afternoon. Whoever handles the mayor’s email account manually forwarded my request to two individuals this morning at 8:30am. I received a copy of the press release two hours later.

In other words, too bad, your opportunity to ask the mayor a question regarding this issue is now closed. I am not news media and therefore this is a non-issue for me except for the fact that the mayor clearly does not understand what transparency in government means. Regardless, the mayor has a right to refuse to answer a question of public importance but the public record would be made.

More importantly is that the mayor’s message to the community is don’t bother, I’m not going to answer your question regarding the city manager because you just don’t deserve the answer.

Arrogance, pure and simple mixed in with political shenanigans that may not be outright corruption but they sure look like it.

More importantly, since when is the people’s business, not the people’s business?

The second issue is that the city manager’s evaluation is not something that should be conducted behind closed doors. Corruption is led by “Closed-door” meetings where deals are made. Why does the mayor feel the need to write that he has made the decision “that it is not possible to have a productive close out to her performance review in light of the recent attention it has garnered”.

Since when is taxpayer scrutiny something to be worried about?

In other words the mayor has just admitted that he believes that the performance evaluation of the city manager should be done away from public scrutiny. Why the secrecy?

There are those that will argue that the mayor just wanted to pass the problem on to the incoming city council. In other words he had no interest in honorably concluding what he was elected to do. Also, in other words, it was time to run and hide.

Or, it is more likely that the both the city manager and the mayor knew that the evaluation would not result in the pay raise that Joyce Wilson was demanding and therefore they figured let’s sneak this in later when no one is watching.

Remember that the community would never have known that Joyce Wilson was seeking her pay raise had someone not “leaked” her request to the community. In other words, this was supposed to be done behind closed doors, away from public scrutiny. Hmmm, sounds to me like a back-door deal.

Here is full copy of the press release issued by the mayor:

Press Release on Behalf of the Mayor’s Office May 23, 2013

Contact: Mayor Cook 541-4145

Mayor decides not to review City Manager’s performance

Over the past two weeks City Manager Joyce Wilson’s performance review has become the center of many media inquiries after the inappropriate release of a related document. After much thought I have come to the conclusion that the City Manager deserves the same rights as any other employee, which is why I have decided not to review her performance at this time, and have so advised the City Council. I made my decision after recognizing that it is not possible to have a productive close out to her performance review in light of the recent attention it has garnered before it was finalized.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me, but after this week I will not be discussing this personnel issue.

Sincerely, John F. Cook Mayor of El Paso


Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...