Former KDOT Secretary Deb Miller to lead KU’s Public Management Center

photo by: The Associated Press

Former Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller, pictured here in October 2011, will lead the University of Kansas Public Management Center, the university announced on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.

A former state leader will join the University of Kansas to serve as director of its Public Management Center.

The university announced on Tuesday that Deb Miller, who served as the secretary for the Kansas Department of Transportation from 2003 to 2011, will lead the program. Ruth DeWitt, a spokeswoman for the School of Public Affairs and Administration, said Miller took over the position on May 6.

Miller replaces Laura Howard, who left earlier this year to join Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration as secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

The Public Management Center, or PMC, is a professional development program within the university’s School of Public Affairs and Administration. The program offers training and consulting services to public servants in Kansas and Missouri.

Miller said she was looking forward to expanding opportunities for public employees to receive professional development.

“The public sector is changing rapidly. Budget cuts, staff retirements, the automation of services and sometimes difficult political environments all have an effect on how our public servants approach their jobs,” Miller said. “Investing in our employees by giving them the tools they need to adapt, advance and thrive benefits all Kansans.”

Along with her service for KDOT, Miller was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2014 to the Surface Transportation Board, a federal agency regulating U.S. railroads. She served on the board until 2018.

Miller worked in transportation for 26 years and was involved in the state’s comprehensive transportation programs of 1989, 1999 and 2010, according to previous Journal-World reports. The 2010 plan, known as T-WORKS, included financing for the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Rosemary O’Leary, director of KU’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, said she was confident in Miller’s leadership of the center, noting her commitment to providing professional development to KDOT employees while she was secretary.

“Deb’s career-long commitment to public service and her reputation as one of the best cabinet secretaries in the history of Kansas make her a perfect fit for the PMC at exactly the right time,” O’Leary said.

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