Milliman’s efforts have helped restore public faith in local government.
Throughout the course of his 40-year-career, Gary Milliman has managed multi-million dollar construction projects, secured grant funding for various projects, developed economic development strategic and marketing plans, worked with City Councils, Budget Committees, community members, residents and businesses to ensure successful implementation of plans. More importantly, Milliman’s efforts have helped restore public faith in local government during critical periods of crises.
City Manager, 2007-Present
Brookings is located on the south coast of Oregon eight miles north of the California border. The City provides a full range of services including police, fire, parks, public works, water and wastewater utility, planning/building, urban renewal and internal management services.
Incorporated in 1951, Brookings has transitioned from a resource-based economy to a tourism and retirement community. While lumber production and fishing still remain active, a recent report indicated that a majority of Brookings residents received their primary income from entitlements. There has been a steady influx of retirees from California and other locations over the past decade. Brookings, with a population of 6,500, is the largest of three cities in Curry County and plays a leading role in regional issues such as economic development, public safety, transportation and land use planning.
Issues dealt with in Brookings include replacement of aging infrastructure and managed growth. The City approved a 550-acre annexation with a development plan that includes 1,000 residential units and a community college campus. The City formed an Urban Renewal Agency, and has implemented several projects to improve public and private facilities in its downtown area. The City is also participating in a regional airport authority seeking improvements to airport facilities and service.
Results / Outcomes:
- Negotiated an infrastructure financing agreement with the developer of a 1,000-unit subdivision and commercial center.
- Facilitated approval of a Detailed Development Plan for a new Southwestern Oregon Community College campus. Co-chaired committee to secure funding for facility which opened in January 2012.
- Managed the process of consultant selection and preparation of master plan documents for water, wastewater, street and storm drain improvements; and the preparation of development fee and user fee studies to support operations and capital improvements.
- Secured financing and managed construction projects, including 1.5-million-gallon water storage reservoir and $900,000 emergency communications tower.
- Secured grant funding and worked with architect/engineer/emergency managers in the development of an emergency operating center.
- Worked with major retailer to secure site for new store and negotiate development agreement that included site acquisition, street improvements.
- Prepared economic development strategic plan.
- Secured $2.1 million in grant funding for development of multi-use (bike/pedestrian) path.
- Worked with Urban Renewal Agency to develop plan for improvements in downtown business district. Secured $3.4 million in tax increment bond financing.
- Prepared master plan for 33-acre Azalea Park.
- Secured approval of Water Right Certificate on Chetco River.
- Developed a body of written policy and administrative documents to improve consistency of day-to-day administration.
- Secured $1.7 million in grant funding for water/sewer improvements to serve Brookings Airport.
- Provided leadership in formation of Border Coast Regional Airport Authority; a joint powers authority among two cities, two counties and two Native American tribal governments in two states for management and development of a commercial airport.
- Secured $2.1 million in grant funding for street widening/reconstruction project.
South Gate, California
City Manager, 2003-2007
South Gate is centrally located in the metropolitan Los Angeles area. A Council / Manger form of government, the City provides a full range of services including police, parks, golf course, recreation, public works, water utility, community development and internal management services. The residential area is largely single-family, and remains primarily owner-occupied. The City is in a preferred location for manufacturing and distribution operations as lies close to the transportation corridors from Long Beach/Orange County; the Ports of Long Beach & Los Angeles; and the Los Angeles International Airport.
The City is currently recovering from a period of political corruption and mismanagement. This period in the City’s history severely damaged the City’s financial condition, it’s reputation, and it’s credibility with residents. A new Council/Manager partnership and professional management team is now in place.
Issues facing the City during my tenure included extensive litigation to recover mis-spent public funds, restructuring the City organization, restructuring the City’s debt and financial management systems, prosecution of former City officials, training new community leaders in the ethical practice of government, developing an economic development plan, putting basic management systems in place, restructuring labor agreements, recruiting staff and building public trust in local government
Results / Outcomes:
- Exercised decisive leadership in guiding the City out of a fiscal and political crisis.
- Increased the City’s General Fund balance from less than $200,000 in 2003 to over $13 million in 2006.
- Improved the City’s bond rating from “not sellable” in 2003 to “AAA” in 2005.
- Refinanced the City’s retirement deficit, saving over $6.0 million.
- Developed and implemented a strategy to eliminate a $3.5 million operating deficit within six weeks of taking office. Bridged an additional deficit of some $8.0 million within three years.
- Developed and implemented a major internal reorganization.
- Recruited and hired a new management team. Quickly established a new level of management stability and competence that is recognized in the investment community.
- Working in partnership with the City Attorney, recovered over $3.5 million in mis-spent City funds and negotiated a unique settlement agreement with the City’s waste hauler valued at over $15 million.
- Negotiated multi-party development agreements leading to the construction of a regional shopping center.
- Worked with elected officials from six cities, union leaders, and community members in organizing a public schools local governance joint powers authority.
- Negotiated agreement with the Los Angeles Community College District for the joint City/District planning of a new community college campus in the City.
- Negotiated agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District for the joint City/District planning of a new, multi-school complex.
- Developed a marketing program aimed at attracting new private investment into the community.
- Terminated and/or negotiated exit agreements with numerous city management employees and contractors.
- Assisted in the successful criminal prosecution of former City officials.
Fort Bragg, California
City Manager, 1979-2000
Fort Bragg is located on the California north coast, surrounded on three sides by Redwood forest. A Council/Manager form of government, the City provides a full range of services including police, fire, parks, beaches, solid waste, public works, water utility, wastewater treatment, community development, and internal management services.
The City serves as the employment, education and social activity center for a broader population, estimated at over 20,000. Until recently, the City was the site of the world’s largest Redwood lumber mill, and its commercial fishing harbor was one of the largest Salmon and crab producing ports on the west coast. Environmental controls and resource depletion resulted in the collapse of these industries. Fort Bragg has become a popular tourist destination, with many adjacent State beaches, a wilderness park and hosts several major festivals. The 7,000 population of the City doubles during the tourism season.
Issues facing the City during my tenure included the economic transition, sustaining City services during a period of uncertainty, rehabilitation of the City’s historic downtown business district, expansion of the City limits, development of the City’s first shopping center, rebuilding the City’s water system, development of a community college campus, restructuring of the fire department and implementing redevelopment plan.
Results / Outcomes:
- Brought management stability to the city organization. Presented the City Council with 17 balanced budgets. Negotiated over 30 labor agreements with no job actions or litigation.
- Implemented a customer service attitude in City Hall that resulted in a significant expansion of the city’s retail and visitor service business sectors, and improved the public’s faith in its local government.
- Secured the City’s designation as one of the first five “California Main Street” cities and facilitated the development of a master plan for revitalization of the City’s historic downtown. Implemented downtown public improvements.
- Planned and implemented several downtown historic building rehabilitation and reuse projects, including City Hall, two museums, a railroad roundhouse, a community center and an abandoned auto dealership.
- Recruited a community college regional center and a shopping center.
- Secured funding for, and managed projects resulting in a complete rebuilding and expansion of the City’s water source of supply and treatment system.
- Secured Urban Development Action Grant to assist in the development of the first shopping center in Fort Bragg and used funds recovered from this project to implement a rehabilitation and promotion program in the City’s historic downtown business district.
- Managed a community process for developing a design plan for the City’s historic downtown business district.
The City of Fort Bragg received the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence from the League of California Cities for a program I developed to employ developmentally disabled persons in the City workforce.
- Negotiated purchase of fire-damaged courthouse. Developed and implemented a plan to rehabilitate the building as a community exposition and meeting hall.
- Led the community of Fort Bragg through a period of transition from a resource-based economy to a tourism-based economy. Led the effort to form the Fort Bragg Redevelopment Agency as a tool for assisting the community through this period.
- Negotiated agreement with private developer for construction of a mixed-use project including single and multi-family housing, retail center and relocation/expansion of a major Sales Tax producing business.
- Negotiated the acquisition…by donation…of a two-acre site and 10,000 square foot historic residence in the downtown area. Managed project to transition the property and building into public use for museum and cultural purposes.
- Organized the City’s political involvement in stopping the development of offshore oil drilling along the Mendocino Coast.
- Developed reuse plan for abandoned automobile dealership in Fort Bragg. Negotiated agreement between property owner and developer which resulted in converting this abandoned building into a tourism-oriented retail mall, food court and museum.
- Managed the annexation of over 600 acres into the City Limits to facilitate development of community college, tourism related business and housing.
- Secured grant funding for the construction of a police station and emergency operating center. Managed project design and construction.
- Developed and implemented a plan to consolidate the Fort Bragg City Fire Department and the Fort Bragg Rural Fire Department.
- Secured grant funding for the construction and operation of a community Food Bank.
- Managed infrastructure expansion projects to facilitate expansion of visitor-service business, doubling the City’s transient occupancy tax revenue.
- Secured grant funding for a harbor dredge material disposal site, enabling the commercial fishing harbor and processing plants to remain in operation and saving 300 jobs.
- Managed response and recovery involving six major incidents affecting the community, including three natural disasters, one series of arson fires and two protest demonstrations requiring multi-agency response.
- Secured grant funding and implemented a project to extend water and sewer service to a Native American community adjacent to the City.
- Managed relocation/ rehabilitation of the last remaining building from the fort.
League of California Cities
Southern California Director, 2000-2003
The League of California Cities is an association of California city officials who work together to enhance their knowledge and skills, exchange information, and combine resources so that they may influence policy decisions that affect cities.
Founded in 1898 on the principles of local control and interagency cooperation, the League has grown from a handful of public officials to include the voluntary membership of 478 California cities. The League main office is located in Sacramento, and the organization has some 75 employees.
Role as Southern California Director:
Gary Milliman joined the League staff as Southern California Director in 2000. Based in Monrovia, Milliman was responsible for coordinating member services to city officials in 11 counties, and providing administrative support services to seven Regional Divisions of the League organization. He also served as principal staff to the City Managers Department of the League, and had the dual assignment as Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Division.
To improve city member participation in public policy.
Results / Outcomes:
During his tenure with the League, member service and Regional Division support services in the Southern California area substantially improved.
- Member participation improved and the Divisions became more active within the League organization, and externally in their respective geographic areas. Milliman also supervised employees whose responsibilities included legislative analysis and member services.
- Working with members of the Los Angeles County Division, Milliman prepared a series of “white papers” and authored a preliminary plan for restructuring the governance of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. This plan was ultimately embraced by the MTA management and implemented by the MTA Board.
- In 2001, Milliman played a major role in the creation of an innovative program entitled the “Grassroots Network” and was tasked with implementing and managing this statewide program.
- The program increased the effectiveness of local government officials in state legislative and budget affairs. The program involved training local officials in effective advocacy techniques, media relations and developing strategic partnerships. Milliman participating in selecting and supervised 14 Regional Representatives deployed to work with City officials throughout the State. Regional Representatives not only work with local government officials to improve their effectiveness, but worked as a campaign team in several successful statewide ballot measure initiative campaigns.
- In February 2003, Milliman was “loaned” to the City of South Gate to assist that City through a crisis period following a recall election. Milliman served as Interim City Manager for a six-week period, after which he returned to his League assignments. Milliman left the League staff in August 2003, to assume the City Manager duties in South Gate on an ongoing basis.
California Western Railroad
President / CEO, 1996-2000
The California Western Railroad; also known as the “Skunk Train,” was originally built in 1885 to carry Redwood trees from the dense forests to a lumber mill in the coastal community of Fort Bragg. Passenger service was added in 1904, and an interconnection with the national rail system 40 miles east of Fort Bragg was completed in 1911. Gas powered, self-propelled passenger motorcars were added in 1925; these motorcars were nicknamed “the Skunk” because, people said “you can smell ’em before you can see ’em.” The railroad also delivered mail and supplies to residents of the remote forest area along the line.
Today, the railroad is a popular tourist venue, offering excursion trips through the Redwood forest along the 40-mile route between Fort Bragg and Willits. The railroad operates historic equipment, including a steam locomotive, two motorcars and 1920’s vintage passenger cars.
In 1996, the then-owner of the railroad was moving toward abandonment of the railroad as freight shipping had dropped considerably and ridership had plateaued. Milliman organized a group of local investors and purchased the railroad in August 1996. Milliman developed a new business plan, secured additional financing and developed an aggressive marketing strategy. He became the full-time President/CEO of the railroad in January 1997.
To find investors to purchase, repair and increase freight shipping and ridership. Also to move away from CPUC fare and schedule regulation.
Results / Outcomes:
During his tenure:
- The railroad operated weekly freight and daily passenger service, operated two historic railroad stations and three gift shops.
- The railroad also operated a railroad equipment repair facility and maintained 40 miles of track, including two tunnels and 30 bridges.
- The railroad was successful in shedding the CPUC regulations.
- Ridership and freight utilization improved, and substantial infrastructure improvements were completed.
- Public grant funding was secured for infrastructure improvements and subsidy of passenger commute service.
- Milliman was directly responsible for developing and implementing a marketing program, which included television advertising, tourism show appearances, regional publication advertising, a media campaign and cooperative marketing with other tourism businesses.
- Leading the effort to form the Mendocino County Promotional Alliance and was a leading member of the Redwood Empire Association, a regional tourism marketing cooperative.
- In 1999, Milliman organized a public stock offering to raise additional capital for equipment acquisition and infrastructure improvements.
Other Related Results / Outcomes:
While serving as President/CEO for the California Western, Milliman was elected to the Board of Directors for the California Shortline Railroad Association.
- He was successful in securing over $5 million in federal disaster assistance funds for a group of privately-owned storm-damaged railroads.
- Wrote legislation creating a state shortline railroad assistance program and participated in numerous workshops as a representative of the shortline railroad industry.
City Manager, 1977-1979
Cotati is located in northern California. A Council/Manager form of government, the City provides services including police, parks, recreation, public works, water utility, sewage collection, community development and internal management services.
Adjacent to Sonoma State University, the City has a large student population. Primarily a bedroom community, many residents commute to San Francisco. Housing ranges from student-oriented apartments to five-acre estates. The historic downtown business district and Plaza Park…listed on the National Register of Historic Places…was rehabilitated in 1978-79. The City is host to numerous student-oriented businesses, including restaurants and nightclubs. U.S. Highway 101 the main north/south coastal route in California traverses the City.
Issues facing the community during Milliman’s tenure included park expansion, providing social services to students, infrastructure rehabilitation and police/community relations.
Results / Outcomes:
- Secured grant funding and implemented project for the rehabilitation of public facilities and installation of street furniture in the downtown business district.
- Managed project to rehabilitate the City’s historic downtown park.
- Secured grant funding and managed project to develop a community recreation park.
During his tenure with Cotati, Milliman received the Management Innovation Award from the International City Management Association for his leadership in forming the nation’s first joint-risk sharing insurance pool.
- Negotiated contract for providing police dispatching and mutual aid services to Sonoma State University police.
- Construction of an award-winning affordable housing project.
- Developed the City’s first-ever capital improvement plan.
Bell Gardens, California
Deputy City Manager, 1971-1976
City Manager, 11 months
Bell Gardens is an urban community located in the metropolitan Los Angeles area. A Council/Manager form of government, the City provides services including police, parks, recreation, public works, transit, community development and internal management services.
Located mid-way between downtown Los Angeles and the port of Long Beach, and adjacent to the major transportation corridor between the port and the main railroad terminal, Bell Gardens was one of the last Los Angeles urban communities to incorporate. Born out of the Dust Bowl era, much of the housing stock was substandard and the City had a struggling commercial district. The City was, essentially, un-planned, with residential uses mixed in with heavy industrial uses; which included leading manufacturers in steel products and metal plating.
Issues facing the community during MIlliman’s tenure included economic development, infrastructure improvements, improving the quality of City services, housing rehabilitation, job training, land use planning and transitioning from a “contract city” to a City that provided services with it’s own personnel.
Results / Outcomes:
- Implemented the City’s redevelopment program, including securing bond funding, land acquisition, business recruitment and relocation.
- Developed and implemented plan initiating the City’s first public transit program.
- Secured funding for, and managed the construction of a police station and a public works facility.
- Developed a public information program.
- Established basic management systems, such as a procurement policy and procedure.
- Secured grant funding for a major street-tree planting program.
- Secured grant funding for construction of a senior citizens center.
- Negotiated land acquisition/site assembly for the development of two industrial parks.
North Coast Railroad Authority
- Negotiated joint powers agreement with the County of Marin and the Golden Gate Transportation and Bridge District for railroad facility planning and development.
- Negotiated acquisition of 160 miles of right-of-way from Southern Pacific Railroad.
- Played a key role in the acquisition from bankruptcy of some 150 miles of railroad right-of-way.
- Developed initial budget and operating plan for the new agency.
- As a member of the California Emergency Council, organized the effort to secure State certification of 100 per cent of California city emergency plans for the first time in the State’s history.
- As a member of the Emergency Preparedness Commission for the County and Cities of Los Angeles, developed a new Commission mission statement and organizational structure.
- Led the effort to form the Mendocino County Emergency Management Authority, the first operational area joint powers authority in California.
- Collaborated with community leaders to form the Mendocino County Promotional Alliance, a unique partnership among local government, the wine industry, tourism industry and general agricultural industry to promote Mendocino County products and visitor venues.