Wake's David Cooke in running for Dallas manager job

From staff reportsDecember 13, 2013 

COOKERETIRES5-NE-111813-HLL

After thirteen years of presenting plaques to retiring Wake County employees, retiring Wake County Manager David Cooke, left, got a special recognition letter of outstanding achievement and thanks signed by the seven Wake County Commissioners presented by chair Joe Bryan, right, Monday.

HARRY LYNCH — hlynch@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— Retired Wake County manager David Cooke may not remain retired much longer.

Less than two weeks after leaving his Wake post, Cooke has been named one of six semi-finalists for the city manager’s job in Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

It would be a bigger job, in terms of budget and employees. In Wake, Cooke administered a $982 million budget with 3,600 workers. Dallas has a $2 billion operating budget and 12,000 employees, according to the Morning News.

Cooke also would have more bosses; the Dallas City Council has 15 members, compared to seven county commissioners in Wake.

The move should not be a surprise. Cooke is 53 and suggested when he announced his retirement in July that he would seek some new opportunity.

“I have no immediate plans,” Cooke said at the time. “But I am excited about pursuing some new adventure next year.”

Cooke could not be reached for comment Friday.

Cooke received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and began his municipal government career in 1983, working for the city of Charlotte. He came to Wake in 1996 as deputy county manager, then was appointed to the top job in 2000, after the retirement of Richard Stevens.

He became eligible to retire under the state system when he hit the 30-year mark this year.

A Dallas City Council search committee will interview the candidates in Dallas starting next week, according to the Morning News, and may recommend finalists to the full council next month.

Meanwhile, Wake commissioners are accepting applications for the manager’s job through Dec. 20. A consulting firm will interview candidates in early January and suggest finalists later that month. The board will interview those candidates in February and hopes to have a new manager in place by March, in time to prepare next year’s budget.

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