Wake County Manager David Cooke to retire this year

From staff reportsJuly 25, 2013 

Wake County Manager David Cooke is announcing his retirement from the post he’s held for 13 years, guiding county affairs through times of boom, bust and emerging recovery.

Cooke, 53, said he will retire at the end of November, ending an overall 17-year career with Wake County. Hailed by Joe Bryan, chair of the county commission, as the best county manager in America, Cooke has spent 17 years overall with Wake County.

During times of controversy with the commission’s sister Board of Education and sometimes with the City of Raleigh, the Board of Commissioner has received advice from Cooke that’s generally been regarded as carefully considered, nonpartisan advice.

On Friday, Cooke said he consider his job to be providing information that’s “objective, straightforward and thoughtful.”

“I think the job of a manager is to proved the best information and analysis possible so that officials can make decisions,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the party of an elected officials.”

Cooke began his municipal government career in 1983, working for Charlotte. He said Friday the timing of his departure was dictated by its place in the cycle of county government: he didn’t want to leave in the midst of budget planning or an election.

“That meant it was now or in another 18 to 24 months,” he said.

A statement from Cooke said he had no immediate plans, but was excited about pursuing other ventures next year.

The board of commissioner will start looking for a new county manager next month.

“David Cooke has served Wake County and our residents extremely well over the past 13 years as County Manager,” Bryan said. “He has built an exceptional team and helped guide our county through tremendous growth and through the most challenging of economic times.”

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