ELGL and SGR Launch the Cookingham Connection

Posted on May 19, 2014

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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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile 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.

b2-p24As 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.

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