Video of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s news conference March 26, 2015, provided by Vermont PBS.
Liz Miller, who has served in Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration since he took office in 2011, will leave state government after the legislative session.
She will be replaced as Shumlin’s chief of staff by Darren Springer, deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service. Miller, an attorney, did not say what she will do after she leaves the post in May.
“I have plenty of work to do here for the next two months. That’s all I am focusing on, and I will be focusing on, until I leave,” she said. She added, “I enjoyed lawyering. I may do that again in the future. But I really, truly have not yet figured out what will be the next step.”
Miller, 44, joined the administration in 2011 as commissioner of DPS and became the governor’s chief of staff when Bill Lofy left the post in 2012 after Shumlin’s re-election to join the Democratic Governors Association. Lofy now works for Green Mountain Power.
Miller’s husband, Eric Miller, has been nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney for Vermont. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., recommended Miller for the post. He has yet to be nominated by the Senate and confirmed by the president. Miller said the timing of her departure was a “happy coincidence.”
Shumlin said he wished he could have kept Miller in his administration longer.
“I have been blessed with one of the brightest, most hardworking, dedicated people that I have ever worked with in my lifetime,” he said during a news conference at the Statehouse on Thursday.
Springer, 34, has been deputy commissioner of DPS since March 2013. He has worked closely with lawmakers on renewable energy policy, including changes to the state’s net metering program and first renewable energy standard.
Before that, he worked for Sen. Bernie Sanders. Springer has a law degree from Vermont Law School.
“The opportunity to take on bigger challenges, broader challenges, working with the team of leaders across state government to help them promote the governor’s agenda, that’s an exciting opportunity for somebody like me,” Springer said.
Since August, five top administration officials have left state government. Doug Racine, secretary of the Agency of Human Services, was ousted in August; Kate Duffy, commissioner of the Department of Human Resources, stepped down in August; Dave Yacovone, commissioner of the Department for Children and Families, stepped down in September; Jeb Spaulding, secretary of administration, stepped down in January; Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access, announced his decision to leave in January; Brian Searles, secretary for the Agency of Transportation, retired in January; and Lisa Gosselin, commissioner of Economic Development, will leave in April.
Shumlin said the latest departure from his administration does not indicate that his third term will be his last.
“I try to keep people as long as I can,” he said, but some choose to pursue other dreams and jobs. “I intend to serve as governor as long as Vermonters will have me and as long as there is more work to do.”