BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport man who began his career as a coastal ecologist at the Mississippi DMR, has been chosen to lead that department.
Governor Phil Bryant on Tuesday named Jamie Miller, 40, to fill the executive director's job at the Department of Marine Resources. Miller not only has experience working at the DMR, but he's also held positions in federal, state and local government. Most recently, he was chief of staff for Congressman Steven Palazzo.
Governor Bryant calls Miller "uniquely qualified" to meet the challenges he'll face at DMR.
Following his introduction by the governor, Jamie Miller wasted no time acknowledging the challenges he faces in leading a department that's the focus of an ongoing investigation.
"Challenges to the agency's credibility. Challenges to restore the public's trust in its ability to carry out its mission. Challenges to be the best steward of the taxpayer's money," said Miller.
He says the solution to the department's troubles begins and ends with transparency and accountability.
"As my first action as DMR director, I will implement a 60 day agency evaluation and assessment. Now this assessment will try and get to the heart about how decisions are made within the organization, how funds are spent and how they're accounted for, and how effective we are at managing those resources," Miller explained.
He worked as Congressman Steven Palazzo's chief of staff, and got a glowing endorsement from his former boss.
"I know of no better person to take on this challenge. He's already sacrificed on behalf of South Mississippi by serving you, each and every one of you, in Washington D.C.," said Congressman Palazzo.
Miller's principles impressed the Governor.
"He said his sense of professional purpose is rooted in the idea that the well being of Mississippi's coastal and marine resources are critical, not only to the success of South Mississippi, but to the success of all of Mississippi," said Governor Phil Bryant.
"We're going to have to identify the things that have been done wrong. And we'll find the things we're doing right. And we're going to do everything better," said Miller.
The governor's selection of Jamie Miller to head the DMR must still be confirmed by the state senate. That is expected to happen soon, before the end of the current legislative session.