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City Council appoints interim city manager
Michael Cooke pic1
Mayor Gary Soiseth (left) and Director of Municipal Services Michael Cooke discuss water issues in Soiseths office earlier this year. Cooke was appointed Interim City Manager by unanimous vote of the City Council on Tuesday. - photo by Journal file photo

The Turlock City Council bid a fond farewell to retiring City Manager Roy Wasden at Tuesday's Council meeting, his last before leaving, and then appointed Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke as the Interim City Manager while a candidate selection process moves forward to find Wasden's replacement.

"I have to say he represented your city to the nth degree...on behalf of the County I want to thank you for all your service," said Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa to Wasden at Tuesday's meeting.

Cooke has served as the Planning Manager and the Municipal Services Director during his 22-year career with the City of Turlock. He has been instrumental in helping secure present and future water resources for the City of Turlock through work on the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program and citywide water metering.

“Director Cooke will do an excellent job managing Turlock's day-to-day operations. He has the required skills, knowledge, and steady leadership to be an effective Interim City Manager,” said Mayor Gary Soiseth.

 “I am honored that the Turlock City Council has selected me for this temporary assignment.  City Manager Roy Wasden has been a steadfast leader and servant of this community for the past six and a half years, and his shoes are impossible to fill.  Nevertheless, the City of Turlock has outstanding employees and a dedicated City Council and I am looking forward to working with all of them on continuing to move this great organization onward and upward.  Together, we will ensure a smooth transition for Roy’s permanent replacement,” said Cooke.

Also on Tuesday, the City Council voted to create a five member review panel for the City Manager position recruitment. The panel will be co-chaired by the Mayor and Interim City Manager and include a local city manager and two community members.

The panel will interview City Manager applicants that are recommended by the City's executive recruitment consultant  and based on those interviews, put forward the top candidates to the City Council for final selection.

The City plans on entering into a professional services agreement with its selected recruitment firm on Monday.