Dallas City Hall Would Eat City Manger Finalist David Cooke Alive

Categories: City Hall

David-Cooke.jpg
David Cooke
This week, The Dallas Morning News is profiling the three finalists to become Dallas' next city manager. Yesterday, it was interim City Manger/Uber crusher A.C. Gonzalez. Tomorrow, it's Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana's turn. But today? Today belonged to David Cooke, who recently retired as the head bureaucrat in Wake County, North Carolina.

The profile, penned by reporter Scott Goldstein, is agonizingly dull. He attended the University of North Carolina, where he discovered a passion for local government. He climbed the bureaucratic ladder until he landed the Wake County manager post 13 years ago.

Goldstein couldn't find so much as a smudge on him. No backroom deals with drilling companies. No attempts to slip a ban on Uber past elected officials. Just professionalism and competence.

At first blush, it seems that Cooke is exactly what Dallas needs, someone who won't be tainted by the stink at City Hall. But one paragraph in Goldstein's profile gives us pause:

Cooke said one of his worst days on the job was when the news broke that a county employee in solid waste management had spent public money on questionable travel. The employee was fired. Cooke ordered an outside review.

Here's the story. Maybe that qualifies as a major crisis in Wake County, and maybe that in itself is a testament to Cooke's leadership, but in Dallas, that's a Wednesday. It's at least enough to make one wonder if Cooke's elbows are sharp enough for the halls of 1500 Marilla.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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14 comments
MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

I'm sure the Council in Raleigh is probably a good 15-20 IQ points on average ahead of our stellar crew.  Our team only knows how to scream at each other.  The Uber case showed that City Staff are like vampires; they fear the light.  If your first step is to get it in the visible public record, they shrink and hide.  Even Citizens' Council cannot really stand the light. 


The new City Manager should forget about policy and focus on execution.  Ms. Suhm's problem and likely Mr. Gonzalez's are they think they are some kind of pseudo Mayor.  If he lays off policy and focuses on culling the herd of numbskulls in City Hall staff, he will start making an impact.  Is there a more target rich environment for incompetence than City Hall staff?  Our pilots in Iraq thought they had a abundance of easy pickings when Hussein had his tanks line up in single file on a highway.  In comparison to Young Street, those tanks were in well constructed, concealed locations. 

Pseudonymph
Pseudonymph

Didn't we used to have a council member named David Cook? And didn't he sort of look like that guy?

Pseudonymph
Pseudonymph

I have observed that when it comes to Dallas officials -- elected or appointed -- the candidate you know is "safer" than the candidate you don't know. Why? Because at least with the one you know, there's already a known history to examine when the next issue arises. Why open a new Pandora's Box, when we've already got several toy surprises occupying our handful of Cracker Jacks?

AdamsonScott
AdamsonScott

He's by far the best of the three candidates.  The internal guy is tainted, and the woman from Oakland is FROM OAKLAND - the worst civic disaster of a city since Detroit.

wcvemail
wcvemail

"The music business (or City of Dallas business) is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves andpimps run free, and good men die like dogs.There's also a negative side.”

― Hunter S. Thompson

Because somebody had to post it.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

A short fuse/low tolerance would be a nice change here.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

I think you meant to write "but in Dallas, that's a Wednesday, before lunch"

James080
James080

Wouldn't it be refreshing to have a city manager who doesn't owe anything to anyone?

WylieH
WylieH

Hmmm... perhaps.  But... what's the alternative? Just give up and accept the stench of corruption and incompetence that permeates the City of Dallas and Dallas County as the status quo?


What's wrong with aspiring to something better?

MargaretHuntHill
MargaretHuntHill

Away in a manger

No crib for a bed

The little Lord Mary

Lay down her hard head

IPost
IPost

Unfortunately, aspiring to something greater isn't the Dallas way. That "we are a world class city" nonsense spewing from Rawlings and his Deputy Dog - Atkins - makes me want to vomit into the plastic bags that Dewayne is trying to ban.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@WylieH To answer your final question: the heartbreak/fury/grief/leaving town, take your choice.

markzero
markzero

@IPost Actually, aspirational thinking has been a driver here at least since a barefoot teenage girl walked into Neiman Marcus during the Great Depression and started ordering a bunch of expensive things because her daddy just struck oil. 


Unfortunately, the gal is now an old woman and, while she's still got income from fossil fuels, she's still buying bows for her head (think of a certain recent bridge that was at least $100 million over what should have spent, just to be fancy) in hope of impressing her suitors, while her feet remain unshorn for the road ahead (DISD, of course).

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