Gary Miller has served the City of Porterville through the police department for 20 years, and on Tuesday night the City Council honored Miller and his service by announcing him as September’s Employee of the Month.

Miller, who held the title of Sergeant with the Porterville Police Department (PPD), was hired onto the force in June of 1999. Through his 20 years of police service in the city, Miller has held several different positions including K9 Handler, which he said was one of his favorite assignments. Miller has been married to his wife for 26 years, and together they have four children. Miller’s final day with PPD was September 1, so he is now officially a retired man. Miller plans to head back to his homeland of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and settle into his retirement there.

“I’d like to thank the City of Porterville, administration and City Council for giving me and my family this opportunity we’ve had,” said Miller. “20 really positive years here and it’s become home. My children have received their educations here, they’ve made friends here. I look around the room and see friends I’ve made. 

“I’ve never seen the Porterville police officers ever turn out quite like this, and I think they’re ready to get rid of me,” Miller said with a playful smile. “Most of these guys sitting here, I’ve worked with them, we were in patrol, and they were probably just as overwhelmed as I was when I started this job. I think about the importance of the support from the community and the support from the Council and the support it takes from our country. If we are going to keep this thing together, support your local officers. They’re overwhelmed and they need your support. Thank you so much.”

Miller was met with a long round of applause as he reclaimed his spot in the audience.

In other Council news, September was proclaimed as Adult Literacy Month in honor of Ellen Nichols, who was a prominent promoter of the library and literacy up until her passing in early July.

The eight item consent calendar was approved. Council member Virginia Gurolla requested to pull items three and seven for further discussion, but ultimately approved both item later in the meeting.

Target’s conditional use permit to sell beer and wine was discussed as a request had been submitted by target to allow for distilled spirits to be sold in their store, along side the already approved beer and wine. This item was up for a public hearing and once the hearing was opened Brock Neely stepped forward to inform the Council of over-saturation consequences when it comes to allowing several businesses in the same general area to sell alcohol. He handed out booklets of information to the Council for future reference. 

A Target representative named Beth addressed the Council and told them that the Target store in Porterville has been selling alcohol since 2006, and that they are “responsible sellers” of alcohol. She also stated that in-store security is trained to keep watch for potential alcohol thieves, and that the only modification to the permit would be the addition of distilled spirits to their alcohol choices.

After the hearing was closed for public comment, Gurolla moved for approval of the modification to the permit, which Mayor Martha Flores seconded. The Council approved the modification with a vote of 5-0.

The Council also approved the submittal of the 2018-2019 consolidated annual performance evaluation report, also known as CAPER. Community Development Director Jenni Byers presented the Council with a breakdown of statistics for the city’s programs and services, including the First Time Home Buyers program and the city’s youth center. The report was approved for submittal to the Department of Housing and Urban Development with a vote of 5-0.

Before the meeting adjourned, City Manager John Lollis reminded the Council and those in attendance that Music on Main picks back up for their fall season on Friday, August 6.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for September 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m. inside the Council Chambers at City Hall located at 291 N. Main Street in Porterville.

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