Treasurer-elect Ken Miller names leadership team

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 02-Dec-2010

Oklahoma state Treasurer-elect Ken Miller today (Thursday, December 2) announced the appointment of his leadership team effective when he is sworn in as Oklahoma’s 19th state treasurer on January 10th.

Miller said his top aides will be Regina Birchum as Deputy Treasurer for Policy and Chief of Staff, Susan Nicewander as Deputy Treasurer for Operations, and Tim Allen as Deputy Treasurer for Communications and Program Administration.

In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Miller said: “These three public servants bring tremendous talent, dedication and experience to the treasurer’s office. With combined professional experience of more than 70 years, I look forward to their help as we work to increase efficiency and maximize taxpayer dollars.”

Birchum joins the treasurer’s office after spending nine years with the Oklahoma House of Representatives in roles involving policy development and communications. For the past three years, she has coordinated House leadership’s efforts to identify waste and inefficiency in state government and enact money-saving reforms. A graduate of Texas State University, Birchum holds a degree in mass communications.

Nicewander and Allen have served in the administrations of the past two state treasurers, where they have been key players in identifying and implementing efficiency projects that have resulted in the savings of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Prior to assuming responsibility for operations in 2007, Nicewander served as the Internal Auditor and Compliance Officer for the treasurer for 11 years. From 1988 to 1996, she was City Auditor for Oklahoma City.

Before entering public service, Nicewander served as Chief Financial Officer for a cable television company and as an Audit Manager with an international public accounting firm. She is a certified public accountant and holds an accounting degree from Oklahoma State University.

Allen was appointed as a deputy treasurer in 2005. He originally joined the treasurer’s office in 1995 and served as Director of Communications and Legislation. Allen previously worked as Communications Director for the State Insurance Department and as a Media Information Specialist for the State Senate.

Before joining state government, Allen was an award-wining radio journalist for stations in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and McAlester. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in broadcast journalism. During his career in news reporting, Allen was a notable performer in the annual performances of the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club, an organization of working journalists who raise money for college scholarships supporting young Oklahomans.

“As I said on election night, I am inheriting a very professional staff and office,” Miller said. “I am grateful to Treasurer Meacham and his staff for helping to make this a very smooth transition. We have challenging work ahead of us and I look forward to helping put Oklahoma in a position to grow and thrive.”

Miller formerly served as a state representative from Edmond and chaired the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. Shortly before the election, Miller chaired an interim study, requested by state Rep. Sally Kern, examining access to the teacher retirement system by non-teachers. He has pressed for broader awareness of the state’s burgeoning pensions costs and the inadequate funding base for state government retirement systems. In that October hearing, he pressed a retirement system official on COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) assumptions that build into programs benefit assumptions than can presently be funded. 

Miller is also an economics professor at Oklahoma Christian University. Miller earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Lipscomb University, a master’s degree in business administration from Pepperdine University and a doctorate through the department of economics at the University of Oklahoma.

In the November election, Rep. Miller, the Republican, drew 675,515 votes (66.57% of all the votes cast) to 339,272 (33.43%) for Stephen E. Covert, the Democrat.

Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.