There has been some publicity lately about the role Michael Jordan is playing in state government. Not the Michael Jordan who can dunk a basketball. The Michael Jordan who is director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, but functions like the chief operating officer (COO) of state government.
News about Jordan suggests he is the first person in Oregon's history to function as the COO. He may function with that authority, but he is not the first manager to do so.
In former Governor Neil Goldschmidt's administration, Fred Miller held the position of director of what was then called the State Executive Department. He functioned exactly like a COO.
Here are some aspects of the role Miller played:
* State agency heads reported on a daily basis to Miller, even though — then as now — state statutes specify that an agency director is named by and reports to the governor.
* Miller held twice-weekly cabinet meetings for the heads of major agencies and monthly cabinet meetings for smaller agencies.
* In addition to the functions of the Executive Department (overall budget, auditing and personnel management — including labor relations), Miller also met on a routine basis with agency heads to check on their progress.
* For his part, the governor would attend cabinet meetings on occasion, but left the daily management function up to Miller.