Rep. Derek Miller appointed Macomb County treasurer

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

State Rep. Derek Miller, a former assistant prosecutor, was appointed Macomb County treasurer on Friday.

Miller, 32, of Warren fills the position vacant since Ted Wahby’s death in December.

“We had three candidates that were all extremely qualified,” Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said. “I thought any one of the three could have done a fine job as treasurer. Each of them brought unique experience into the interview. It was a very difficult decision for all of us.”

Miller will have to resign from his state representative office and will likely be sworn in as treasurer next week, Smith said. Miller, a Democrat, is in his first term in the Legislature representing the 28th District comprising the city of Center Line and part of Warren. An election will have to be scheduled to fill his seat.

Other candidates interviewed Friday were longtime deputy treasurer Jerry Moffitt and John Latella, former chief financial officer and CEO of Garden Fresh Gourmet.

Senior Probate Judge Kathryn George, Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh and Smith interviewed the three. George and Smith chose Miller while Sabaugh chose Moffitt.

Miller said the birth of his daughter, Dakota Faye, six weeks ago was part of what motivated him to consider suggestions that he apply for the treasurer’s position. Shortening his commute by an hour each way worked for him and his wife, Katie.

“I understood I could fulfill those tasks and not only improve the lives of residents in Warren and Center Line, but work for the betterment of the lives of all the residents of Macomb County,” he said.

Miller said he wants to continue Wahby’s mission to make resources accessible to county residents to prevent foreclosures.

“We’re going to do our best to make sure that people stay in their homes and that neighborhood and property values are thriving,” he said.

Wahby, 84, served as treasurer for 20 years. As an appointee Miller will serve the remainder of the term which ends Dec. 31.

Smith said Miller worked in his office as an assistant prosecutor for five years. Before that he was a sole proprietor attorney.

“I got to see him grow into one of the best attorneys in my office, see him as a state representative out of Warren,” Smith said. “ ... His ability to lead the department really convinced me he was the man for the job.”

Miller is the third generation of his family to serve Macomb County in office. His grandfather, Art Miller, was Warren’s first mayor in 1957. His grandmother, Edna Miller, was the first woman elected to the position of Macomb County clerk. His father, Art Miller Jr., served in the Michigan Senate for 26 years.

“They’re just a really good family,” said Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, who has known Miller since he was born. “They have a high regard for public service. I think Derek is going to be an exciting addition. I’m sad to see him leave the Legislature.”

Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University and a doctorate from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

(313) 222-2311