By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Yukon’s retiring city attorney was praised this week for his dedicated service to the community and its citizens.
Gary Miller, a former longtime Canadian County judge, is leaving the city attorney post effective Dec. 31.
Miller thanked the Yukon City Council, city administrators and staff for allowing him to serve.
“I’ve had a wonderful working relationship with the present council and the former council,” he said. “I’ve had a great working relationship with City Manager Jim Crosby and Assistant City Manager Tammy Kretchmar.
“It’s just been a real pleasure to work with the entire city staff. I know a lot of them personally and they made it very enjoyable for me.”
Miller has lived in Yukon since 1972.
“I have grown to love this community,” he said. “It has treated my family and I very well.”
Mayor Shelli Selby presented a proclamation declaring Thursday, Dec. 31 as “Judge Miller Day” in the City of Yukon for his “outstanding contributions” to Yukon and Canadian County.
“When you work with people who are exceptional, it’s very hard for us to say goodbye and let them go into retirement,” Selby said at the Dec. 15th council meeting. “But we know that the retirement is well earned. We know that there’s a wife who sacrificed many years for him to serve the city.”
The proclamation notes that Miller has served Yukon and Canadian County “with commitment, devotion and enthusiasm” and has “given generously of his time to benefit” Yukon residents.
Mayor Selby extended best wishes to Miller for a “healthy, long, enjoyable retirement.”
Roger Rinehart, an El Reno attorney since 1989, will succeed Miller as the City of Yukon’s chief legal counsel.
The council approved hiring the Rinehart law firm to be the new city attorney for a $7,000 monthly fee. (Read more about Rinehart in an upcoming edition of The Yukon Progress)
Yukon City Council members took turns at the Dec. 15th meeting commending Miller for his many years working for Yukon and Canadian County.
Ward 4 Council Member Aric Gilliland thanked the retiring city attorney for the impact he’s left – both on the community and Gilliland personally.
Gilliland’s first job out of college was at Canadian County’s juvenile detention center where Miller served many years as judge. Canadian County Commissioners named the facility for Miller when it was built in the mid-1990s.
“I would like to note how much I learned by observing Judge Miller’s thoughtfulness and consideration; the way he interacted with youth in our community and those who worked for him,” Gilliland said.
“I learned a lot from watching him that the answer is not always the obvious thing right in front of you. When you’re 24, 25 and 26, that’s a huge lesson to learn, especially in the kind of work that we did.”
Vice Mayor Jeff Wootton expressed “ten thousand thank yous.”
“We appreciate you more than you know,” Wootton told Miller.
Miller is finishing his second stint as Yukon’s city attorney, having previously held the post in 1993 before being appointed as Canadian County’s associate district judge to succeed Reta Strubhar.
Miller was associate district judge until 2008 when he left Canadian County to become the children and family services director for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
Miller returned to the Canadian County bench in early 2010 when he became the new district judge succeeding Edward C. Cunningham. He served as Canadian County’s chief magistrate until fall 2016 when he retired as a member of the judiciary.
Miller became Yukon city attorney again in January 2017 after being hired to replace Mike Segler at an annual salary of $72,000.
The city council this March raised Miller’s pay from $79,500 to $123,000 a year.