City Hall

Dallas City Hall Would Eat City Manager Finalist David Cooke Alive

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.