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Garland City Manager Bryan Bradford is wrapping up a distinguished career in public service, announcing he will retire May 1. He has helped guide the City of Garland organization and the community through many challenges and ushered in times of great growth and reinvestment.
On Jan. 17, Assistant City Manager Judson Rex will assume the role of City Manager. Bradford will stay on to assist in the transition as City Manager Emeritus until his retirement on May 1.
“I have been uniquely privileged to serve the Garland community and work with so many of its great leaders,” Bradford said. “I genuinely hope I have made a positive impact on this wonderful community that has become home for me and my family. “
Bradford began his 29-year career with the City of Garland in January 1994. He has served in several roles including Director of Organizational Development, Managing Director of Budget and Research, Senior Managing Director, Assistant City Manager and City Manager. As Managing Director of Budget and Research, Bradford led the City through some of its most financially challenging years including the 2008 Great Recession. He also developed numerous long-term financial strategies that continue to ensure the City’s financial health to this day, and is also responsible for the City achieving its first AAA Bond Rating. In 2008, then-Mayor Ronald Jones awarded Bradford with an Office of the Mayor Special Recognition for his contributions to the financial management of the City.
After serving as Assistant City Manager for a number of years, Bradford was appointed by the City Council to City Manager on May 1, 2015. On his third day as City Manager, he found himself responding to the first ISIS attack on U.S. soil when two terrorists struck during an event at the Curtis Culwell Center.
Three weeks later, Garland was hit with a 100-year flood that stranded a number of residents in their attics and damaged hundreds of homes.
During his seventh month as City Manager, Bryan led the organization in the response to and recovery from an EF-4 tornado that struck Garland on Dec. 26, 2015, claiming 11 lives and damaging or destroying more than 600 homes and several large apartment complexes.
Bradford also led the City through the challenges of maintaining City services during the COVID-19 pandemic and Winter Storm Uri when the Texas grid failed, resulting in widespread and prolonged power outages.
Not all of Bradford’s career in City Management has been disaster-centric. Under his management, Garland has enjoyed record-setting levels of economic development, ongoing redevelopment of the City’s Downtown core, a three-fold expansion in the City’s street repair program, reestablishment of a community events venue, as well as creation of “Where the Heart Is” and other programs designed to improve neighborhood vitality.
Bradford was also instrumental in bringing the VA Hospital to Garland’s medical district in 2020 and for laying the foundation for several significant Economic Development projects that are on the horizon. He was also the catalyst for the development and launch of a successful new image campaign that is reshaping the region’s view of Garland.
Furthermore, Bradford led the City in the passage and successful implementation of a $424 million bond program that is dramatically improving the quality of life for all areas of Garland. And as a strong believer in long-term planning, Bradford initiated master plans that are designed to chart a multiyear course for enhancement of City services in key areas.
When asked what he was most proud of from his time as City Manager, Bradford said, “Building an organization filled with remarkably talented and dedicated employees.” He has been passionate about strengthening the organization through targeted recruitment of new talent and enhancing the skills of the City’s existing employees.
He placed a priority on enhancing the diversity of the City organization and strived to create a culture of equity and inclusion. When Bradford moved into the City Manager’s Office, the management of the organization was comprised of approximately 80% white males. That number is now 53% due to the advancement of women and non-white males into key management roles.
“Throughout his career, Bryan has helped guide our city through difficult times as well as lead it to new levels of successes,” said Garland Mayor Scott LeMay. “He has Made His Mark on Garland in ways that will benefit us all for decades to come.”
Bradford is a member of the International City Management Association, Texas City Management Association and Government Finance Officers Association. He holds a Black Belt in Six Sigma. He previously served on the Baylor-Garland Hospital Board of Directors and the Chamber of Commerce Board. In 2019, Texas Tech University presented him with the Outstanding Alumnus Award.
Prior to public service, Bradford had a successful career in the private sector as the Vice President of the Lindee Holdings Corporation and later as the Managing Partner of Units. In 1991, he chose a career path that better fit his desires to make a positive difference in the lives of others and the community. This led to his enrollment at Texas Tech University and completion of a master’s degree in Public Administration in 1993. His previous education included a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Abilene Christian University in 1982. When asked about his plans in retirement, Bradford commented, “I hope to discover new ways to serve the community, perhaps through one of Garland’s wonderful not-for-profit organizations … but first I’m going to take a really long nap.”