Candidate Profile: Bob Miller


Bob Miller, candidate for Ward 1

Bob Miller – This is one in a series of profiles of candidates for the Ward 1 seat on the Chestertown Town Council. Three candidates are running for the seat, currently held by Councilwoman Liz Gross. The election is Nov. 7 at Chestertown Firehouse with voting open from 7 a.m. to 8: pm.

Candidate profiles are based on an interview plus submitted biographical material.  See the Spy’s report on the Nov 2 Candidate Forum at Heron Point with a 22-minute video of  all three candidates responses.  —  Editors

Bob Miller was born in Flushing, NY, and grew up in Fayetteville, NY, a small village near Syracuse.  While he has spent much of his life in urban areas, he grew up in a small town in upstate New York, where his family owned a milk processing business. He remembers cleaning out tanker trucks that hauled milk into New York City, and watching the cows on the farm next door. “So I have a connection to farmers, for sure,” he said.

Miller went to Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, where he met his wife, Mindy. He majored in Biology (Pre-Med) graduating with honors. After college, he went to graduate school at Indiana University and received his Master’s Degree specializing in Cytogenetics. He worked for 10 years at a hospital, medical school, and medical laboratory. After 10 years as a cytogeneticist, Miller went back to school to become a Certified Public Accountant in Maryland; he received his CPA designation in 1991.

He has worked in numerous well known national and international non-profits at the senior financial management level (Controller, CFO, VP of Finance, etc).  In 2007, Miller started his own CPA consulting firm, focusing on interim CFO work at non-profit organizations. In 2012, he got another Master’s Degree in taxation from American University. He has over 100 tax clients, including individuals, small businesses, and non-profits.

Miller now has an accounting business in Chestertown called Cedar Chase Consulting. He is the treasurer of the Chester River Wellness Alliance, a new non-profit in Chestertown as well as the Secretary of the Executive Board of Directors for Mid-Shore Pro Bono providing legal services on the Eastern Shore.

Bob has been married to Mindy for 39 yrs. They have 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren with one on the way. He has a pilot’s license and flies his own plane and loves to take aerial photos of the shore and the bay.

Miller said he is running for the Ward 1 council seat because he feels Chestertown is a special place – “the people, the neighbors, the area, the environment, all of it – it’s just incredible.” When he found out incumbent Councilwoman Liz Gross was not running, he decided the town council would be a good way to take his involvement with the town “to another level.” Because of his background working with non-profits, he arrived at the insight that the town government is essentially a $5 million non-profit organization. “With my accounting background and 30 years’ experience in non-profits, I could offer my services and my talents. I want to give back while I’m here if I can.” He said he wants more information on how the town is doing in terms of the budget and expenses to be available. “I just feel there should be more financial transparency,” he said.

A key issue facing the town in the near future, Miller said, is its fixed income stream, with most of its income from property taxes and a few grants, in an environment of increasing costs. “Salaries keep going up every year, and other things come up that need to be done. At the end of the day, the challenge will be increasing revenues.” He said his accounting experience could help in navigating choices – “there are costs and there are choices, and which way do we want to go?”

Miller also cited the future of the hospital as a looming challenge – “I really feel this is a huge linchpin for this town,” he said. Everyone would be affected if it became necessary to go to Easton for hospital care. “If you have an emergency situation, you don’t have time to go anywhere else.” Another challenge, he said, is to embellish the arts and entertainment community, possibly by adding new places for music and entertainment. “It would be a big draw for Chestertown,” he said. “Why can’t we have a National Music Festival all year around?” He said a convention center or retreat center could give the town an appeal – “We’ve got so much to offer for people who want to get away.”

While Miller has only been a full-time resident since 2016, he says, “I used to be a come-here, now I’m a be-here; I’ll never be a from-here, but we’ll all be a was-here. So while we’re all now here, let’s work together for a better Chestertown.” He added, “You want a community of people that come from many places, that offer perspectives from many places.” He said he has been impressed by the people he has met at Heron Point, where his wife works. “Their experience can add to our town’s experience.”

The main thing that will attract people here, he said, is jobs for young people in the community. “We need other businesses to think about this place, as a place where people can have careers here.”

‘If I could make one thing happen for Chestertown, it would be raining money,” Miller said. “Money is an engine that runs many things.” In his work with non-profits, he has seen how many ways wealth can help society and facilitate the social good

To familiarize himself with the town government, Miller has regularly attended the council meetings since his decision to run, and has studied the town budget and audit reports, posted online. “Going to council meetings, I’ve learned a lot of things, and I feel that anybody should be able to go to council meetings and know that’s a vehicle they can go to for help.”

Candidate profiles are based on an interview plus submitted biographical material.  See the Spy’s report on the Nov 2 Candidate Forum at Heron Point with a 22-minute video of the all three candidates responses.  —  Editors






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