Fort Worth’s new city manager is going to make $315,000 a year, 35 percent more than outgoing City Manager Tom Higgins’ annual salary of $233,400.
“We knew we were going to have to pay more. Tom [Higgins] is very low in the market,” Mayor Betsy Price said.
Cooke was a finalist to be Dallas city manager in January. The new Dallas city manager, A.C. Gonzalez, makes $400,000 a year, about $100,000 more a year than his predecessor.
Cooke, 54, was unanimously approved by the Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday as the new city manager. He has a start date of June 30.
In addition to the city’s health and retirement benefits, he will get a $600 monthly car allowance, relocation costs, $2,500 monthly for housing allowance for his first six months and up to six round trips from Fort Worth to Raleigh, N.C.
Cooke was county manager in Wake County from 2000 to 2013 and was deputy county manager from 1996 to 2000. He led 13 successful bond elections, helped plan and implement a new convention center in Raleigh, the county seat and the state capital, and a justice center that opened last year $30 million under budget. He also created an open data website for residents to monitor city expenditures.
He also worked for the city of Charlotte, N.C., from 1985 to 1996 in several positions, including budget analyst and manager of internal operations. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After working in the public sector for 30 years, Cooke retired and went to work in the private sector. Cooke, married with two adult sons, started as a director for an engineering and consulting firm, Mulkey Engineers and Consultants, in February.