Henry L. Gardner

Henry L. Gardner

Board Chair

Institute for Local Government

Henry L. Gardner has had a long and distinguished career in both the public and Private sectors. He was appointed City Manager for the City of Oakland, California at age 36 and has the longest tenure in that position in the City’s history. In 1992 City and State Magazine named him the Most Valuable City Manager in the country. Gardner joined the Wall Street firm of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette as Senior Vice President and Manager of the Western Region for public finance in 1993. In 1995 he established the management consulting firm of Gardner, Underwood & Bacon, providing general government advice in the areas of finance, governance, management efficiency, productivity, staff development, public—private partnerships, with principal focus on California cities and counties. He and 3 other partners transformed Gardner, Underwood & Bacon to Gardner, Underwood & Bacon LLC to be an exclusive financial advisory firm with offices in California, Chicago and St. Louis.

In 2003 Gardner joined the staff of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), an association of all 9 Bay Area counties and 101 cities. He served as the Executive Director until late 2010. He returned to Gardner, Underwood & Bacon LLC. In 2011 Gardner, Underwood & Bacon LLC was acquired by Loop Capital Markets of Chicago, Illinois. Gardner was a Managing Director at Loop.

He retired from Loop in 2013 and returned to his management consulting, now The Gardner Group LLC. He has advised dozens of cities and counties over the course of 20 years. He is the current Chair of the California Institute for Local Government. He is a founder and past president of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators; has served as a board member/trustee of the California State Association of Counties Finance Corporation; the California College of the Arts; the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA; the San Francisco Theological Union; Chair of the board of Ecole Bilingue, the French-American School of Berkeley, CA. and Children’s Hospital, Oakland. He was selected for the first class of the British-American Project for the Successor Generation.

Gardner graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Speech and earned a Master of Arts degree in Government from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

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