A month after firing the city's finance chief, Mayor Charlie Hales has found a familiar name to serve as a temporary replacement: former high-level state manager Fred Miller.
Miller, 71, served as head of Oregon's executive, transportation and energy departments from 1976 to 1992—then became vice president of Portland General Electric.
“Fred brings decades of expertise to the city,” Hales said today in a written statement. “He knows how to get the most out of a large organization like the city. He knows how government works, especially here in Oregon. He brings knowledge of the public and private sector, and he’s a longtime Portlander. He’s exactly who we need right now.”
Miller was big player in Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's administration from 1987 to 1991.
He then brought a deep experience in state government to the state's largest utility and often served as PGE's public face during the turbulent years following Enron's 1997 purchase of PGE. Miller is married to Karla Wenzel, a former Portland Public Schools board member and current PGE executive.
Miller will replace Jack Graham, who Hales fired Nov. 20.
Graham, the city's chief administrative officer, was embattled by Oregonian reports he tried to shuffle money improperly between bureaus to help ease a budget crunch in May 2012.
Hales defended Graham, sparking a ongoing City Hall debate over how the city's financial offices should be structured. The mayor eventually fired Graham after emails, first reported by The Oregonian, showed Graham feuding with a subordinate.
Hales says he will conduct a national search for a permanent chief administrative officer. Meanwhile, Miller will make an annualized salary of $179,000.