Steve Pendergrass, 50, of Hanford, California, has been named the new administrator for the City of Milbank. Pendergrass replaces John Forman, who left the position in August.
During their regular meeting on Monday, October 9, the Milbank City Council voted 6-0 to approve Mayor Pat Raffety’s recommendation to hire Pendergrass. Along with Mayor Raffety, council members present at the roll call included: Roger Briggs, Mike Hanson, Mindy Rogers, Craig Weinberg, and John Weyh. Josh Karels voted by phone.
Pendergrass plans to work remotely as administrator until he completes his obligations in California. He will begin his duties in Milbank on Monday, November 27, after he and his wife, Tonya, and their two children, ages 11 and 15, relocate.
According to Pendergrass, he is an accomplished and dynamic fire chief. He states that he also has a proven history of leading large departments and directing complex logistics.” He describes himself as “a natural communicator… with proven ability in strategic planning and budgeting for a large organization to ensure efficient utilization of resources.” He also believes he is skilled at complex problem-solving and in decision-making situations in high-stress scenarios. Pendergrass characterized himself as “a resolute advocate for community safety and wellbeing who will always go above and beyond the call of duty to get the best results for citizens.”
Pendergrass is currently pursuing an educational doctorate in organizational leadership at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in fire and emergency management in 2017 and a master’s degree in public administration in 2019 from Purdue Global University. In 2012, he received an associate’s degree in fire technology from Bakersfield College.
Pendergrass has served as the fire chief of the Hanford Fire Department since 2019. The role provided experience in management and leadership for emergency operations and administration. He developed and oversaw the department’s budget and successfully led contract negotiations with labor unions to reinstate agreements after multiple years of being out of contract.
Prior to his job in Hanford, Pendergrass worked as a battalion chief for the Kern County Fire Department in Bakersfield, California, from 1999 to 2019. Pendergrass began his career in firefighting at age 18 when volunteered for the city of Tehachapi, California.
Mayor Raffety stated, “I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Pendergrass to the city administrator position for the City of Milbank. He brings a wealth of knowledge to our community and is anxious to get to work for the citizens of Milbank. Please join me in welcoming him to our community.”