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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 7, 200112:00 PM EST

Wilson starts as new Duval delegation coordinator

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by: Bill Johnson

Come Monday, City Council administrative assistant Darla Wilson’s world will get a little bit bigger. That’s when she moves from helping Council member Jim Overton represent the Westside’s District 14 to helping Duval County’s legislators represent all of Jacksonville in Tallahassee.

And, while she’ll just be changing desks to some as-of-yet undisclosed location in City Hall, mentally she’ll be facing a whole new set of priorities and problems as the new Duval County Legislative Delegation coordinator.

It’s a challenge she says she’s quite ready for, despite the affection she has for the work and people she’ll be leaving in the Council office after four years. But, they won’t be far away.

Most of the time, she says, “I’ll still be in City Hall. Although I don’t know where, yet, and I’m supposed to report on Monday.”

In addition to not knowing exactly where she’ll be working, she’ll be a little bit in the dark as to what the job will entail.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” she says. “It’s going to be interesting trying to figure out what I’m doing. There’s no one there to show me the ropes,” although, she says, Shirley King, who retired a couple of years ago after holding the job for 17 years, will be available for consultation. Wilson says if anyone knows the ropes, it will be her.

Wilson, who’s moved through many politically-linked positions in her career, hopes she can enjoy the longevity King experienced in the job.

“I’m not getting any younger,” she jokes.

While she might find stability in the job, Wilson will also find herself

on the move. In January she’ll be joining legislators as they head to

Tallahassee for the two-month 2002 legislative session.

With a kindly neighbor volunteering to take care of her dog while she’s away, the temporary move will be a welcome one, since Wilson comes from the

Panhandle and still has family there to visit.

In addition to the people and her boss, Wilson says she’ll miss some portions of her current job, except for the complaints that seem to inundate the Council offices.

“The best thing about this job is that you can actually do something when somebody really, really has a problem — I mean they’ve tried everything — and they can’t get through the red tape or whatever, and you can actually make a difference and really help them.”

Leaving, even with such a great opportunity ahead of her, she says, was a “hard decision to make.”

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