OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Council has appointed the next City Manager on Tuesday.
Craig Freeman will succeed City Manager James D. Couch, who has announced his retirement effective January 2. Freeman’s first day as City Manager is the same day.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity. I’m humbled by it because it’s a great challenge but I think it’s a great city. The citizens have shown they’re willing to invest in themselves, and it’s our responsibility to fulfill the promises that have been made the citizens,” Freeman said Tuesday.
The City Manager is the chief administrative officer in Oklahoma City’s Council-Manager form of government. The City Manager oversees day-to-day operations, a staff of 4,803 employees and a budget of $1.57 billion.
Freeman, 53, has been the City Finance Director since 2011. He started his career with the City in 1992 as a Management and Budget Analyst, earning promotions to Management and Budget Specialist, Finance Department Business Manager and Budget Director.
“Coming into this role having that experience and that background gives me the advantage of having that perspective (sic) as we’re making those decisions to understand those finances and how we need to make sure we’re managing in the future so we’re sustainable and that we’re managing for future generations,” he said.
Before working for the city, Freeman was a teacher and coach at Windsor Hills Baptist School.
Freeman graduated in 1987 from Oklahoma Baptist College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science-public affairs in 1991 and a Master’s degree in urban affairs in 1992, both from the University of Central Oklahoma.
The City Council appointed Freeman after a national search conducted with the Personnel Department. The Council interviewed candidates in an executive session during a special meeting Monday and considered the candidates in another executive session Tuesday during its regular meeting.
“We’ve got a great team in the city. We’ve got great citizen support. We want to continue to invest in our team and keep ourselves moving forward,” he said.
The Council set Freeman’s annual salary at $248,000.