Derek Miller named new Macomb County treasurer

Panel picks first term state rep to succeed Ted Wahby

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published February 2, 2016


MOUNT CLEMENS — Warren’s Derek Miller, a former assistant prosecutor elected in 2014 to serve in the Michigan House of Representatives, whose family’s roots run deep in local politics, has left Lansing to become the new Macomb County treasurer.

Miller, 32, appointed on Jan. 29 by a three-member panel of county officials, took the oath of office on Feb.1 and was sworn in by Michigan Supreme Court Justice David Viviano in Mount Clemens.

The vacancy in the treasurer’s office was created by the death of longtime Macomb County Treasurer Ted Wahby on Dec. 5. Wahby’s term was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016, and Miller said he intends to run for the next four-year term later this year.

“I think it’s just an honor to take over this position after somebody like Ted Wahby, that carried an absolute legacy of superb public service,” Miller said.

The appointing committee, established under state law, consisted of  Senior Probate Judge Kathryn George, Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Smith and Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh. The panel also interviewed Macomb County Chief Deputy Treasurer Jerome Moffit and John Latella, a former partner, CEO and general counsel at Ferndale’s Garden Fresh Gourmet.

“There were three very qualified and capable candidates,” Smith said. “I hired Derek six years ago as a young, single attorney, and over the course of the five years he worked for me, I saw him grow into one of the best attorneys in my office, grow into a husband and father, and into a candidate for this position with such a forward view of how the treasurer’s office should be run. I think Derek is going to be fantastic at the job and he is really hitting the ground running.”

Smith said he was pleased to hear Miller address the goal of working to help struggling taxpayers stay in their homes and continue contributing to their communities.

“Derek was very clear about that. That’s one of the many things that won me over with him,” Smith said.

Prior to his election to a seat representing Michigan’s 28th House District as a Democrat in 2014, which includes Center Line and part of Warren, Miller served as an assistant Macomb County prosecuting attorney, where he spent the last years in the Senior Crimes Unit.

A Warren native and current resident, Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University and a law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

His father, Art Miller Jr., served in the Michigan Senate from 1977 to 2003 and still works as a legislative consultant under contract with the city of Warren. His grandfather, Art Miller Sr., was elected Warren’s first mayor in 1957 and his grandmother, Edna, became the first woman elected to the position of Macomb County’s clerk.

“My grandmother was smiling down, for sure,” Miller said of his appointment.

He added that he would use his experience with the law gained in Lansing and as a prosecutor to protect the rights of his 900,000 constituents in Macomb County.

“You have to make sure that all the constitutional rights of the citizens are protected,” Miller said. “When you’re dealing with that, having a legal background is an essential skill to have.”