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#6: Tim Orman & Georgeanne White


If you’ve followed politics in the greater Fresno area, Tim Orman’s name has undoubtedly come up. Orman, a longtime political consultant, has led some of the Valley’s most well-known, well-liked politicos to victories.

The list of candidates and initiatives, compiled over decades of shaping the message and strategy, is too lengthy to list.

In 2015, Orman hitched a ride with Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand as part of a team of consultants working to defeat Henry R. Perea. Brand’s massive fundraising advantage in the Primary allowed him to hold off challenges from two other factions of the local GOP, represented by H. Spees and Doug Vagim. Then, leaning on that advantage and a key assist from business groups, Brand outlasted Perea in November.

The Mayor’s Chief of Staff has, for the vast majority of Fresno’s strong mayor history, been held by one woman: Georgeanne White. But by summer, she left Ashley Swearengin’s office and became the city’s Assistant Public Utilities director focusing on water regulation, allocations and legislation with no signs of returning to the Mayor’s office.

Chief of staff is no cushy gig and its officeholder can regularly take a beating. White, who served both Alan Autry and Swearengin, has seen far more battles in City Hall than one might care to admit. Better, she’s thrived serving as part-air traffic controller and part-disciplinarian.

Given White’s exit, Brand opted for wholesale shakeup of the Mayor’s right-hand: tabbing Orman to run the office.

Orman, whose color-coded wardrobe is always matched by a Bluetooth headset, has managed the highs and lows of campaigns with equal doses of zen and deprecation.

Yes, that includes when he unearths the cudgel to carve up opponents in the heat of political battle.

With a new City Council dynamic, the relationship between council members and the Mayor’s office will be under a new type of spin.

The expectation: Brand’s amiable political persona is pairing with a hard-nosed, strategic chief of staff.

City Hall is now home to a new bad cop, or just the man who makes the trains run on time.


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