Milligan: Consultants not needed
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