After The New Orleans Advocate asked later about reports that Cook used a public agency's credit card for a personal flight while serving as a transit executive in Ann Arbor, Michigan — and was separately terminated from another job in Georgia — the board said in a statement late Friday that it had discussed those allegations with Cook.On the other hand, once you've gone and privatized operations and more or less repurposed the organization into an entity primarily concerned with buidling toys for tourists, what does a little petty corruption matter anyway?
“Based on the information and references received, the board decided to proceed with making an offer to Mr. Cook, and is confident in his abilities to perform the duties of executive director,” the statement said.
But in an interview before that statement was released, Cook said he was never questioned about those instances specifically.
Especially when the guy is a lifelong company man.
As for the latter instance, he said, Veolia paid him six months' severance after it released him from a job in Cobb County, Georgia. That proves he didn’t leave on bad terms, he said.
But in his conversations with the local RTA board members and hiring committee, "we never went through all that," he said.
Cook also has worked for Veolia in Las Vegas, served as general manager of the Salem Area Transit Authority in Oregon and was director of the Gainesville transit system in Florida, according to his résumé. A search of his name in newspaper coverage in those places didn't reveal any similar problems.