The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents




Richard P. Mills


Appointment of Deputy Commissioner for Innovation

And Chief of Staff




February 12, 2007








Executive Summary


Issue for Decision


Will the Board of Regents approve my appointment of David Miller to the position of Deputy Commissioner of Innovation and Chief of Staff?


Reasons for Consideration


David Miller is a leader with outstanding accomplishments in the field of conservation and education. He is greatly respected and admired by state opinion leaders and has worked closely with both prominent Democrats and Republicans to achieve important national and state legislation. As executive director of Audubon New York, Mr. Miller has assembled a board of directors that includes such diverse individuals as Roger Saillant, the innovative pioneer of Plug Power; former Congressman Rick Lazio; Peter A. A. Berle, the former Assemblyman, Environmental Conservation Commissioner, and president of the National Audubon Society; Marian Heiskell of the New York Times; and Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, a leading environmental attorney.


            Mr. Miller comes highly recommended by these leaders who know him well. They praise his “contagious enthusiasm,” his “drive as a leading architect of change,” his “devotion to education,” and his ability to unify and work well with diverse individuals. He brought together a bipartisan coalition of labor, conservation, business, and Congressional leaders to pass the landmark Long Island Sound Restoration Act to clean up the Sound and later to secure funding for Long Island land acquisition. He worked closely with the Executive in the expenditure of the state’s Environmental Bond Act. He has earned the respect of important state legislators on both sides of the aisle.


New York Audubon is regarded as the nation’s leading state Audubon organization. Mr. Miller’s was the first state Audubon Society to create an urban nature center, in cooperation with the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn, and he has continued to extend Audubon’s educational reach to inner city children through a variety of programs. Mr. Miller also led the National Audubon Society in creating a widely respected strategic plan with the close involvement of the national board of directors, the leadership of 38 state organizations, and grassroots volunteers. Having interviewed Mr. Miller extensively and talked with several accomplished individuals who know him well, I am convinced he will be able to bring people together and organize them very effectively from both inside and outside the Department to achieve the Regents mission.


Proposed Handling


The Board of Regents will review David J. Miller’s credentials and experience in Executive Session on February 13, 2007.  


Procedural History


This is a new Deputy Commissioner position in the State Education Department.  Mr. Miller interviewed for the Deputy Commissioner for Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education (EMSC).  I met with Mr. Miller and recommend him for the Deputy Commissioner for Innovation position.




Accordingly, I recommend that you take the following action.


VOTED, that the Board of Regents accept the appointment of David J. Miller to the position of Deputy Commissioner for Innovation, effective March 22, 2007.