Friday, February 19, 2010

Another one of the good guys leaves the City of Dallas


The city is going to miss Dave Cook. He was not only one of the really good guys working at City Hall, he was one of the most knowledgeable and the most effective. I am more concerned now than ever over the city's budget for the next fiscal year because Dave Cook, the city's retiring CFO, and City Manager Mary Suhm were like the Joel and Ethan Coen of the budget. They played off each other beautifully, the complemented each other remarkably well. I don't know how well it will go now that only one remains.

I remember scenes at Dallas City Council meetings when some council member would be grilling a department head over some arcane detail concerning an agenda item and Dave Cook would step in with the answer the council person was looking for. I always wondered "How does he know all that?"

When I worked the City and was trying to understand all the complex financial ins and outs surrounding the budget, Dave Cook always took the time to sit with me and explain until I understood it.

City Hall reporter Rudy Bush at the Dallas Morning News wrote a story on Cook's retirement following 28 years of employment with the city and, in the comments section following the story, someone wrote anonymously "What's the real reason he is leaving?" Trust me on this. Dave Cook will always be up front with you. He will always tell you the truth.

He is leaving because he can afford to spend a lot more time with his kids who have not yet even graduated from high school while still pulling in a wonderful income from his city hall pension. Having spent marathon sessions at City Hall with Dave, especially when the budget was about to be finalized each year, I can attest that man has more than earned the right to take this time to be with his family.

Not only that, Dave Cook is not the type to run away from any challenge, no matter how daunting, which is what I think anonymous was inferring.

I am deliriously happy for Dave Cook; I am not all that thrilled for the rest of us, however.

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