The Transylvania Times -

By Jeremiah Reed
Staff Writer 

Artie Wilson Honored At Last Meeting - Brevard NC

 

Jeremiah Reed

County commissioners, staff and the public gave Artie Wilson (far right) a standing ovation Monday during his last board meeting as county manager.

Monday night's county commissioners meeting marked the end of an era as Arthur C. "Artie" Wilson Jr. delivered his final address to commissioners after 22 years of serving as Transylvania County manager.

Wilson, 67, announced his decision to retire this past January and Monday's meeting was his last as acting county manager. Wilson was named county manager in 1992 after serving three years as the county's economic development director. Wilson's last day as manager will be Sept. 30.

At the end of the regular business portion of Monday's meeting, Commission Chair Mike Hawkins said commissioners wanted to do something for Wilson to show him not just how valuable he has been to the county but to commissioners as well.

Several events have been scheduled this week in Wilson's honor including a county staff breakfast on Tuesday and a public farewell reception at the Rogow Room on Thursday. To kick off the evening's ceremony, commissioner Jason Chappell – the longest tenured commissioner on the board – read Resolution 33-2014 recognizing Wilson's retirement and his years of service to the county.

The resolution listed several of Wilson's achievements including: increasing county services; overseeing renovations to the DSS building, Silvermont facility, the old sheriff's building and the old county library; overseeing construction of the new library, Animal Shelter and public safety facility; overseeing more than 300 employees in 24 county departments; fostering an environment of economic development; and participating in numerous civic activities in the county.

After the resolution was read, commissioner Page Lemel made a motion to approve, with commissioner Daryle Hogsed seconding. Before voting on the resolution each commissioner took a moment to personally commend Wilson for his service to the county.

Chappell said even though he and Wilson didn't always agree on issues, Chappell never questioned Wilson's commitment to the citizens of the county and knew that his heart was "always in the right place."

Chappell said while Wilson has undoubtedly provided great service to the county, it was his service to the public and his demeanor with citizens that impressed him the most.

"I appreciate how you handle things and you how treat citizens. I thank you for that," Chappell said.

Lemel said until somebody delved into the realm of county politics, they couldn't fully understand all the responsibilities that Wilson has balanced over the years.

"I have an awful lot of respect for Artie because when you look at this person who has been in this job for 22 years and realize the number of things he oversaw, the fact that he helped us survive the worst economic downfall since the Great Depression. Every decision Artie makes he makes with his heart and he makes with his head," Lemel said.

Lemel said Wilson is one of the most selfless people she has been around and has been a great asset to Transylvania County.

Hogsed, whose relationship with Wilson dates back to when he was a boy, congratulated Wilson on his retirement and said he has enjoyed his time working with him on the board of commissioners. Hogsed said Wilson's work ethic and professionalism are admired, not just locally, but regionally and across the state as well.

Among his accomplishments, Hogsed said one of Wilson's greatest achievements was his championing of mental health services in Transylvania County and the Western North Carolina region. Hogsed said Wilson has left an indelible mark on the county and Transylvania is a better place thanks to his service.

Commissioner Larry Chapman said he worked with Wilson prior to being a commissioner when the two were employees at Ecusta. Chapman, who serves on the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, said during his interactions with commissioners and county managers from across the state, Wilson's name was frequently mentioned for his exemplary commitment to county government. Chapman wished Wilson "nothing but the best" moving forward and said he hoped that Wilson would continue his service to the community.

In his remarks, Hawkins said a dinner was held last month in Wilson's honor that featured all the county commissioners who worked with him in the past. Hawkins said the group shared stories about Wilson and one of the things that struck him was how every commissioner demonstrated their "absolute respect and love for Artie."

Hawkins said while some commissioners talked about Wilson's efforts to financially manage the county or his work to accrue an excellent county staff, others spoke about Wilson on a personal level and testified to his character and his commitment to serving the citizens of the county.

"That's what's important," Hawkins said to Wilson. "It's not about fixing budgets. It's more important to touch people and that's what you've done over the years and that's where I'm going to miss you, is just the quality of person that you are."

Commissioners then unanimously approved the motion on Wilson's resolution and presented him with a framed copy of the resolution. Commissioners also presented Wilson with a gift certificate to the Pisgah Inn, one of Wilson's parents' favorite places to eat dinner.

Chapman suggested the final honor of the evening to bestow upon Wilson. Chapman said Wilson spent most of his career working in a small, windowless office in the county administration building. In discussing the new county administration building on Broad Street, Chapman said he would like to see the main conference room in that building named in honor of Wilson. Chapman followed up his suggestion with a motion, which Lemel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

In addressing commissioners, as well as several members of county staff in the audience, Wilson said he was thankful for all the kind words from commissioners and took time to humbly acknowledge all the county staff members he worked with over the years.

"I've said this over and over again; (the county's) biggest asset are your employees. I can say honestly that Transylvania County has the best department heads and best employees of any county around," he said. "I've been so fortunate to work with David Reid (tax administrator), Mark Baker (lead maintenance technician), Rick Pangle (former county director of parks and recreation) and others who have retired in the last several years. I've been so fortunate to work with a great group of people: Sheila (Cozart), Gay (Poor). It's just been wonderful to have a staff that loves Transylvania County; they don't just work for Transylvania County, they love Transylvania County," Wilson said.

Wilson also thanked commissioners for their long hours of work and dedication to serving the citizens of the county.

"A lot has been accomplished and it's because of (commissioners') work," he said. "My job, staff's job, is to carry out the policy decisions they make but I can honestly say thanks to each one of you for the job that you have done. It has been my pleasure of serving each one of you in your leadership.

"I appreciate you allowing me to serve for 22 years as county manager and 25 years as an employee of Transylvania County. It has been my pleasure. God bless each one of you and thank you very much," Wilson said.

A public farewell reception will be held in Wilson's honor today at the library's Rogow Room from 5-7 p.m.

 
 

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