Craig Freeman ‘honored’ by hiring as City Manager for Oklahoma City

City Manager-designee Craig Freeman said he’s honored and grateful to be named Oklahoma City’s next chief administrative officer.

“I’m thankful for the blessings of God, and for the people he’s placed in my life who have invested in me and helped me grow to where I am today,” said Freeman, who the City Council appointed Tuesday as the next City Manager. 

“I’ve been blessed to work for Oklahoma City residents and with my colleagues here over the last 26 years. I love living and working in this community. We’ve got great leadership from the Mayor and Council and across our City staff. I enjoy investing in our residents and our staff for the public services we’re proud to provide.”

Freeman will succeed City Manager James D. Couch (, who has announced his retirement 
effective Jan. 2. Freeman’s first day as City Manager is the same day.

The City Manager is the top staff member 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.

“We were pleased with the quality of talent that applied, both from internal and external candidates,” said May David Holt.  “Ultimately, we saw in Craig some critical strengths – his financial management skills, his high ethical standards and his collaborative management style. We have a high level of confidence he will build upon our City’s successes.”Freeman, 53, has been the City Finance Director since 2011. He started his career with the City in 1992 as a Management and Budget Technician, earning promotions to Management andBudget Analyst, Management and Budget Specialist, Finance Department Business Manager and Budget Director.

Freeman oversaw a staff of 85 in the Finance Department’s six divisions. He coordinates the development and presentation of the City budget, Five-Year Financial Forecast, Capital Improvement Plan and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, and provides other important financial services.

Freeman has also been involved in labor negotiations, economic development projects,developing the City’s general obligation bond programs 
and sales tax initiatives, and has served on several City boards and trusts. The City has maintained an AAA bond rating under his leadership.

Before coming to the City of Oklahoma City, Freeman was a teacher and coach at Windsor Hills Baptist School. He 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.
Freeman is a lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro. He and his wife, Rhonda have sons Chris and Nick, and daughter-in-law Haley; daughter Whitney and son-in-law Stephen; and grandsons Landon and Grayson.

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.
The Council set Freeman’s annual salary at $248,000. As designee and with Couch on accrued leave until his retirement, Freeman has assumed the duties of the City Manager until he officially takes the position Jan. 2.