As an introduction to the ELGL and SGR series on L.P Cookingham, Bruno Rumbelow, Grapevine (TX) city manager writes about the myriad of accomplishments of Cookingham and L.P’s ability to transcend the municipal landscape.
The Dean of City Managers
LP ” Perry” Cookingham “the Dean of city managers” was a legend in the city management field. If you haven’t read about Mr. Cookingham he is just a Google search away. He served as a city manager in three Michigan cities before in the mid 1920’s to 1940 – and spent he spent his most influential years in Kansas City, Missouri from 1940 to 1959 – where he rose to national prominence. He finished his career in Fort Worth, Texas in 1964.
A closer look at Mr. Cookingham’s life and career reveals that he had great insight into the foundation of our profession. His thoughts – as portrayed by newspaper articles, books, speeches and articles he wrote demonstrate his acumen on a wide range of issues we all deal with in City Hall.
Mr. Cookingham’s guidance/thoughts on the role and responsibilities of the different players in the municipal landscape, how to harness the varied power centers that exist in all cities to accomplish our work, the need for a manager to grow and change to stay current with the times, the importance and knowledge brought to bear on problems by a truly professional management team, the power of ideas that come from proper, thoughtful analysis, the need to invest in long range planning, sustainable council/manager relations and need to treat everyone in the city – friend or foe – with the respect and dignity they deserve. The list goes on and on.
I encourage you to read the upcoming Blog posts and to some time with Mr. Cookingham – his example will make us all better managers and, with a bit of luck maybe “Cookie” – as he was called by his friends – will make us better people along the way.