The Dean of City Managers – LP Cookingham
ELGL and SGR are boldly going where no duo has before by launching the Cookingham Connection. Our spiritual leader in this journey is Bruno Rumbelow, City of Grapevine (TX) City Manager. Bruno is a leading thinker on the impact of Cookingham and the legacy of the guide posts.
Our agenda is to “bridge” the roots and founding DNA of the city manager profession with today’s leaders. We will do this by exploring each of Cookingham’s 22 guideposts. Each Friday, a veteran city manager will address one of the guideposts and what it means to them. The following Monday an ELGL member will address the same guidepost and how it is relevant today.
For the ELGL “team”, we have selected 22 individuals that span geographic boundaries and professional titles from interns to managers.
Anthony Hooper, Lake Oswego (OR) Support Services Supervisor
Ashley Graff, Gresham (OR) Economic Development Recruitment Specialist
Ben Kittelson, PSU MPA and Metro Newsroom Intern
Ben McCready, Rock Island (IL) Assistant to the City Manager
Brian Southey, Bloomington (IL) Management Intern
Charlotte Colley, New Albany (OH) Senior Projects Manager
Jenifer Della Valle, Hillsborough (NC) Assistant Public Information Officer/ Management Analyst
Jenna Garcia, Omaha (NE) City Clerk’s Office
Jim Lenner, Johnstown (OH) Village Manager
John McCarter, Sugarland (TX) Management Assistant
Josh Gregor, Portland (OR) Revenue Tax Specialist II
Kirsten Silveira, Baltimore (MD) Budget Analyst
Kirsten Wyatt, West Linn (OR) Assistant City Manager
Kyler Ludwig, Goddard (KS) Assistant to the City Administrator
Marc Nelson, Roanoke (VA) Special Projects Coordinator
Matt Mueller, Little Elm (TX) Town Manager
Noel Bernal, Falfurrias (TX) City Administrator
Rafael Baptista, Catawba County Management Intern
Ryan Adams, Irving (TX) Sr. Management Analyst
Sarah Hazel, Charlotte (NC), LICMA Local Government Management Fellow
Vanessa Shrauner, Odessa (TX) Development Coordinator
Will Norris, Long Beach (CA) Management Assistant
For those less familiar with LP Cookingham, Tim Clark has written a short introduction on Cookingham’s legacy.
The Legacy of Cookingham
by Tim Clark
While LP Cookingham served a number of communities during his lifetime, he is most remembered for his time as city manager of Kansas City, Missouri following the machine politics of Tom Pendergast, considered one of the worst political machines in the nation. As the Kansas City Star quoted in 1940, “The new city manager will take over one of the most backward, one of the rottenest governments in the country.” During the 19 years he was there, Kansas City was transformed.
In 1956, Cookingham wrote down his philosophy of management in ICMA’s PM magazine so that it might guide the next generation of managers. Now, nearly 60 years later, we are using those lessons to write this series in the same hope of guiding the next generation of managers.
As emerging leaders, we will find ourselves hired to oversee communities which are experiencing new eras of growth or dealing with unique problems for the first time in their history. In this new age of e-government and new groups coming to the table of civic debate, the lessons of Cookingham’s legacy can help guide our approach to tacking new issues.
There are many cities seeking transformation like Kansas City and I believe today’s emerging local government leaders have the passion to transform those cities. As you read this series, I hope you take from it lessons that you can apply to your growing career in changing the landscape of local government in 21st century America.