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Janie Miller was just getting a taste of life in the private sector when she was called back to public service.
Miller, 52, of Shelbyville, who has more than 31 years in various public administrative jobs, had just started work for Data Systems Inc. in Frankfort when she got the call from Gov. Steve Beshear to head up one of the largest departments in state government. Starting today, Miller takes over as secretary of the Health and Family Services Cabinet.
"I'm honored to be considered and chosen," Miller said.
Miller will take over a cabinet with dozens of human health and services programs, including the Department of Community Based Services, the state's disability program, the Medicaid program, the state Department of Public Health and the state's mental health programs.
Miller said the cabinet has just over 7,000 employees with a $1.8 billion budget from state revenues and another $5 billion from federal and local sources.
Before starting to work with Data Systems, Miller had worked as deputy director of Budget Review for the Legislative Research Commission. She was responsible for assisting legislators in developing budget bills for all three branches of government. She retired from that post in September.
During part of the Paul Patton administration, Miller served as Public Protection Cabinet Secretary. She has also served as commissioner of the state Department of Insurance and deputy commissioner of health insurance in the Department of Insurance. Miller also worked for 17 years in the Cabinet for Human Resources.
"Janie has a wealth of knowledge and experience in all branches of state government," said Gov. Steve Beshear in a press release. "I am confident that her vast budget experience will be an asset to the citizens of the Commonwealth."
Miller said she is not yet privy to budget plans for her cabinet that will be presented to the General Assembly by Beshear later in January. Beshear has warned that the state budget will be tight this year.
Because the Health and Family Services Cabinet deals with health care, mental health and family issues, Miller said the position will be a challenge.
"It's a huge challenge, but a huge opportunity," Miller said. "Where else can you have the opportunity to have such an impact on the public and public policy?"
Miller is married to Gary. The couple has two sons, Andrew and Brett.