This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Gov. Gary Herbert picked Derek Miller as his new chief of staff Wednesday, and, in something of a coup, persuaded Rep. Ron Bigelow to give up his legislative seat to become his new budget director.
Herbert also announced that he will promote Mike Mower, currently the governor's planning director, to the newly created position of deputy chief of staff.
"With their combined experience in several key areas of my administration, these three men will hit the ground running in the governor's office and continue the success we have experienced so far," Herbert said in a statement.
Bigelow, R-West Valley City, has served in the Legislature since 1995 and was budget chairman for eight years. Earlier this month, House Speaker-elect Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, decided to replace him in that capacity with Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville.
Bigelow said he was intrigued by the possibility of working for a governor he respects, but he grappled with whether to take the position after just being re-elected in November and didn't decide to take the job until this week.
"I struggled a lot with the fact that I'd just been elected. That was almost enough to prevent me from taking it," he said. "I finally decided that I thought I could really add a lot there in the [budget office] because I have the background with the state budget, so it just seemed like a good fit."
The Utah Constitution prohibits state employees from serving in the Legislature, meaning Bigelow will have to resign his seat.
Republican delegates from Bigelow's House District 32 will move quickly to choose a replacement with the hope of having his successor in place a few weeks before the legislative session begins Jan. 24.
Bigelow has been a manager of finance with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 28 years, and he said he will be quitting that job as well. He will replace John Nixon, who is leaving to be the budget boss in Michigan.
"Ron Bigelow obviously knows the budget as well as anybody [Herbert] could have found. He knows the players," said Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville.
"They're great choices," Waddoups said of Miller and Bigelow. "Exactly the two I would have recommended."
Miller recently was promoted to deputy director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. Before that, he served as managing director of business incentives at the agency created to recruit businesses to locate and expand in the state.
Before joining GOED, Miller spent a year and a half at the Utah Division of Real Estate and worked in Washington for the U.S. House Transportation Committee and for the D.C. office of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He earned a joint law degree and master of public administration from Brigham Young University.
Miller will replace Jason Perry, who also came from GOED to become transition director for Herbert when then-Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. announced he would be stepping down to become ambassador to China. Perry subsequently served 16 months as Herbert's chief of staff.
Perry accepted a job earlier this month as vice president of government affairs at the University of Utah.
"I don't think the governor could have found a better person," Waddoups said. "Derek is a very intelligent man, very successful in what he did at the Division of Real Estate and exceptional at what he did at GOED."
As state planning coordinator, Mower was the governor's adviser on state planning matters and was in charge of public-lands policy. Mower will continue to handle the public land and planning issues in his new capacity.
Mower previously was deputy chief of staff under Huntsman but was reassigned during a staff shake-up. Mower also was the point man for the state's stimulus programs.
He is a graduate of BYU and the U.'s law school. He previously worked for Gov. Mike Leavitt, Reps. Howard Nielson and Chris Cannon and Provo Mayor Lewis Billings.
The salary for the chief of staff last year was $109,442 while the budget director was paid $124,255.