A dynamic duo at Bertram City Hall
By Dana Delgado
BERTRAM — Only days separate their arrival at Bertram’s City Hall, but this unlikely pair have merged into one dynamic duo administering the affairs of the town with professionalism and efficiency.
Evan Milliorn was hired first as the City’s Secretary in 2010, but Georgina Hernandez, the would-be City Treasurer hired later, got a jump on him with an earlier start date. Coming from uniquely different circumstances and backgrounds, the only two full-time city hall staffers have settled into their respective roles.
“They’re a very good team and do a good job for the City,” said Bertram Mayor Dickie Allen. “I’m glad they’re with us because it takes a good team to run a city.”
“I do all the city finances and HR (human resources) for all the employees as well as utility billing for the City of Bertram,” said Ms. Hernandez. “Evan takes on other aspects of City Hall and is the primary go-to for City Council. He takes council meeting minutes, maintains agendas and works closely with code compliance. We’re both under the direction of the Mayor.”
Her city hall colleague, Evan Milliorn is a former multi-sport athlete at Burnet High School who didn’t just stumble upon his official position. He took the reins to his career and made it happen.
He was inspired by his high school government teacher and football coach Tim Duncan.
“Mr. Duncan got me fascinated in political science,” Milliorn said. “As a teacher, he presented it in a very interesting way that made me think. As coach, he taught me to commit myself and to do things right.”
His father, Bud Milliorn, gave him great insight into business and afforded him the opportunity to garner insightful perspectives into inter-relationships of things and people that he now values and utilizes in his work at City Hall.
Although once believing he was an Aggie, Milliorn attended Blinn College in Brenham before completing a degree in Political Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). It was at UTSA that he experienced another major career enlightening moment. In his final semester as a college junior, Professor Dennis Martinez crystallized the ideals of a political science career by drawing from his wife’s first- hand experience as San Antonio’s City Manager. Milliorn felt his career choice had been validated for him.
At age 22 with a college degree in his hip pocket, Milliorn was married and back in Burnet. His first-born, Jack, would join the family two years later, but when the down economy cost his wife her job, it was a wake-up call for Milliorn.
“I went back to the family business,” said Milliorn who soon realized, however, that if political science was going to be his career, he needed to make a “concerted effort.”
“I left the family business after a year and went around asking local cities about a possible internship with them,” he said. “Although common in large cities, internships are unheard of in smaller towns.”
After some discouraging visits with some towns, Marble Falls offered him a six-month unpaid internship under the guidance of Caleb Kraenzel, director of Development Services. It was the kind of foot-in-the door opportunity Milliorn had hope for. After only three months as an intern, he landed the position as Bertram’s City Secretary.
“I love what I’m doing,” he said. “There is no typical day; you never know what kind of question is coming through our doors and there is no magic formula or one right answer. Over the last three years, I’ve learned how integrated each department is and how important it is that everyone must work together and move in the same direction.”
City Treasurer Hernandez never expected to be working at Bertram City Hall, but has known all along that public administration was in her life blood and that it was a good fit for her driving, resolute and resilient, no-excuses, common-sense personality.
“I’m a strong, independent person and really like being dependable and trustworthy,” she said.
She had been class president and vice-president during her junior and senior years at her high school in tiny, industrialized Holgate, Ohio, despite dealing with a broken home and becoming a mother herself at age 17. Ms. Hernandez also joined her school’s chapter of Business Professionals of America after taking computerized accounting classes and subsequently led a student team of business peers to regional and state competition titles in Ohio and captured an impressive 11th Place in the national competition in San Antonio.
By then, she had already been retained in an early grade because a Bilingual Program presented in Spanish while living in Arizona had ill-prepared her for her English-only classes the following year.
Obstacles, however, never deterred Ms. Hernandez from growing personally and professionally. With a strong encouraging mother at her side, Ms. Hernandez saw life challenges as mere temporary miscues that needed to be overcome or circumvented.
“My Mother is so strong and the real force that moved me to make better choices and overcome obstacles,” said Ms. Hernandez whose ears still ring with her mother’s message to seek a better life.
“‘Don’t just work to get by,’ she would tell us,’ work to get better’,” she said.
Following high school, a confident, determined and inspired Hernandez undertook a position as an administrative assistant with Lubbock Power and Light. There, she learned about OSHA regulations and safety training and is credited with developing a distinctive database that tracked accidents and generated valuable reports. So resourceful, her database was adopted by other departments.
Ms. Hernandez gained valuable managerial experience as the sales manager for the Gift Shop at the Buddy Holly Center and Museum in Lubbock learning about budgeting, hiring and accounting. All the while in Lubbock, she and her mother ran five miles a day together and all along strengthening their bond and affirming her desire to achieve.
In 2010, their relationship suffered a medical setback. Her mother was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered a head injury. Ms. Hernandez said that the recovery for her mother has been slow and lengthy. She was hospitalized again over the Christmas holidays for complications from another ailment and was expected to be released before the New Year. As she always has, Ms. Hernandez remains hopeful.
In 2012 after completing her first two years of college at South Plains College, Ms. Hernandez graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies with a concentration in Human Resources. In doing so, she became the first in her family to graduate from college.
“I’ve always wanted to meet my mother’s wishes,” she said. “She has always been very direct and does not mince her words. She just knew that we would get through.”
Ms. Hernandez now has her sights on a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.