CON­SUL­TANTS not needed, Mil­li­gan says.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL R. WICKLINE

State Trea­surer Den­nis Mil­li­gan has de­cided not to re­new his of­fice’s con­tract with an Arkansas con­sult­ing firm that was paid $94,500 over more than two years, af­ter state Sen. Terry Rice, R-Wal­dron, raised ques­tions about the con­tract last month.

The con­sult­ing firm, Le­gacy Con­sult­ing, was paid $10,500 in fis­cal 2015, $38,500 in fis­cal 2016 and $45,500 in fis­cal 2017 un­der its con­tracts with the trea­surer’s of­fice, said Mil­li­gan spokesman Stacy Peter­son. Fis­cal 2017 ended June 30.

“We used them when we first came into of­fice to help us find out best prac­tices [ and] help us co­or­di­nate,” said Mil­li­gan, a Repub­li­can from Ben­ton. “It doesn’t mean that we won’t go back to them, but at this point we re­ally don’t need their di­rec­tion any­more.”

Mil­li­gan said his de­ci­sion not to re­new the con­tract with Le­gacy Con­sult­ing had noth­ing to do with Rice’s ques­tions about the con­tract.

Rice on Fri­day de­clined to com­ment about Mil­li­gan’s de­ci­sion.

Le­gacy Con­sult­ing is led by its founder and owner Chad Gal­lagher, who was once mayor of De Queen and an aide to for­mer Gov. Mike Huck­abee. Gal­lagher is ex­pe­ri­enced in pub­lic re­la­tions, po­lit­i­cal con­sult­ing and busi­ness devel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to his firm’s web­site. Mil­li­gan’s chief deputies, Ja­son Brady and Grant Wal­lace, are for­mer Huck­abee aides.

Le­gacy Con­sult­ing’s Brenda Bel­trani and Gal­lagher are lob­by­ists reg­is­tered with the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice to rep­re­sent the Arkansas Mu­nic­i­pal League, Arkansas Broad­cast­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Arkansas Fu­neral Di­rec­tors As­so­ci­a­tion and Arkansas Trial Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to the of­fice’s web­site. Bel­trani is a for­mer Arkansas Ru­ral Devel­op­ment Com­mis­sion mem­ber.

In re­sponse to ques­tions by Rice, Mil­li­gan told law­mak­ers on June 14 that his of­fice doesn’t em­ploy a lob­by­ist.

Mil­li­gan said his of­fice’s con­tract with Le­gacy Con­sult­ing was “for some con­sul­ta­tion, some di­rec­tion on good gov­ern­ment for the trea­surer’s of­fice. We rely on them for a num­ber of pieces of ad­vice about what is hap­pen­ing around the coun­try with other trea­sur­ers.”

At that time, Rice told Mil­li­gan that the peo­ple have elected him to help over­see the trea­surer’s of­fice and other state of­fices.

Asked for a list of Le­gacy Con­sult­ing’s work for Mil­li­gan, Peter­son said the firm helped with:

■ Con­sult­ing ser­vices and net­work devel­op­ment for the of­fice’s im­ple­men­ta­tion of the SharePoint pro­gram that’s an elec­tronic pro­gram that “we in­cor­po­rated in an ef­fort to stream­line the money flow between our of­fice and lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

“Prior to im­ple­ment­ing this pro­gram, our of­fice was still re­ceiv­ing checks from many ci­ties and coun­ties through­out Arkansas,” Peter­son said. “What we did by im­ple­ment­ing this pro­gram is stream­line the process for lo­cal gov­ern­ments to send their tax monies to us elec­tron­i­cally, elim­i­nat­ing ex­cess use of pa­per and sim­pli­fy­ing the process by which lo­cal gov­ern­ments send and re­ceive their tax col­lec­tions.”

■ Strate­gic ad­vice for the man­age­ment team. That “in­cluded help­ing us tran­si­tion into our con­sti­tu­tional of­fice, help­ing cre­ate an or­ga­ni­za­tional chart with re­spect to man­age­ment of per­son­nel, as­sist­ing in help­ing us re­spond to per­son­nel con­cerns, de­vel­op­ing and re­vis­ing Pol­icy and Pro­ce­dure man­u­als, Hu­man Re­source Pol­icy man­u­als and re­lated doc­u­ment devel­op­ment/strate­gic plan­ning.”

■ Iden­ti­fy­ing out­reach op­por­tu­ni­ties statewide “to al­low our of­fice the plat­form to ed­u­cate Arkansans on the work­ings of their state trea­sury.”

■ Grass­roots and net­work devel­op­ment for “cre­at­ing & con­nect­ing our of­fice with con­tacts in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties through­out the state, to help us pro­mote statewide pro­grams to lo­cal of­fi­cials,” Peter­son said in an email. “Some ex­am­ples of those pro­grams in­cluded the trea­sury’s Arkansas 529 Col­lege In­vest­ing Plan pro­gram, the AR Fi­nance AR Fu­ture pro­gram, and the newly-up­dated State Trea­sury Money Man­age­ment Trust.”

Asked if Le­gacy Con­sult­ing did any lob­by­ing for his of­fice, Mil­li­gan replied Fri­day, “Ab­so­lutely not. Doug Matayo was our con­tract man there. He is no longer at Le­gacy. He is not a reg­is­tered lob­by­ist.”

Ac­cord­ing to Le­gacy Con­sult­ing, Matayo worked at Le­gacy Con­sult­ing from De­cem­ber 2014-De­cem­ber 2016. Matayo is for­mer chief deputy sec­re­tary of state and Repub­li­can state rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Spring­dale.

Asked if Gal­lagher also worked with the trea­surer’s of­fice, Mil­li­gan said, “Mostly, it was Doug. If you are try­ing to split hairs, then tech­ni­cally I would have say we had some com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Chad.”

Mil­li­gan said Le­gacy Con­sult­ing isn’t work­ing on a cam­paign for him.

Gal­lagher could not be reached for com­ment by tele­phone at his of­fice or by email Fri­day.

Mil­li­gan, who was elected trea­surer in 2014, de­clined to say whether he plans to run for re-elec­tion next year, say­ing he’ll make an an­nounce­ment soon.

Ac­cord­ing to his lat­est cam­paign fi­nance re­port on the sec­re­tary of state of­fice’s web­site, Mil­li­gan re­ported $2,514.35 in his cam­paign bank ac­count for his re-elec­tion cam­paign as of June 30. As of June 30, he also re­ported that he owed him­self $31,049.98 for loans that he made to his 2014 cam­paign.

“We used them when we first came into of­fice to help us find out best prac­tices [and] help us co­or­di­nate. It doesn’t mean that we won’t go back to them, but at this point we re­ally don’t need their di­rec­tion any­more.” — Den­nis Mil­li­gan, state trea­surer

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