She’s only 48, but Eileen Wheeler says she deserves to retire.
And that’s what she’s doing.
“I paid my dues,” Wheeler said Tuesday, after El Paso County Commissioners recognized her achievements during the 26 years she’s worked for the county clerk and recorder’s office.
Wheeler says she has no idea what she’ll do now: “I’m going to regroup and see what comes my way.”
Wheeler was hired as assistant to the deputy clerk to the board in 1984. She was promoted to manager of the department in February 1989, during the asbestos evacuation of the clerk and recorder office in Centennial Hall.
“They kept offering me the position, and I kept turning it down,” she said. “But everything kicked into high gear when we had to evacuate, and I like it when things are chaotic.”
Wheeler has served four county clerks and worked with 21 county commissioners. She was responsible for the records of more than 2,000 commission board meetings.
She became an expert on liquor codes, open meetings laws and the Open Records Act, as well as Parliamentary Procedure.
Wheeler also took the lead in reducing paperwork and converting from typewriters and hard copy to computers and electronic filing and recording.
A parade of county staff attested to her attributes at Tuesday’s commission meeting. Past and present co-workers used words like “efficient,” “gracious,” “calm,” “cooperative” and “helpful” to describe Wheeler’s nature.
“Eileen is a leader among leaders,” said Robert “Bob” Balink, who has been the clerk and recorder for the past eight years.
“She’s been one of the strongest county supporters of using technology to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of doing business,” said Bill Miller, from the information technology department.
The commission also approved meritorious service resolutions for three elected county officials leaving their posts: Balink, who became county treasurer on Jan. 1; surveyor Chris Brewer; and treasurer Sandra Damron. The latter two will vacate their positions Tuesday, when newly elected county officials are sworn into office.