BRATTLEBORO—When it was announced last week that Lawrence Miller was leaving his spot as head of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to become the state’s health care czar, there was little doubt of about who his replacement would be.
When it comes to economic development in Vermont, Patricia Moulton is known as a star performer.
And so Moulton, who was midway through her fourth month as executive director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp., and had barely started working on Windham County’s economy, was summoned to return to Montpelier by Gov. Peter Shumlin.
Come June, she will be taking over for Miller as Commerce Secretary.
Moulton, a Londonderry resident, is no stranger to the executive branch. During her long career in economic development, she has held several key posts in and out of state government, including Labor Commissioner under Gov. Jim Douglas. She worked under Miller as Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development until she left to go to BDCC in February 2013.
Her father, the late Elbert “Al” Moulton, was the lead economic advisor under four governors beginning in 1964, and was one of the architects of Act 250, the state’s land use and development law.
Moulton said at a news conference in Montpelier on April that she got a call from the governor’s office at the beginning of April.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about how to handle the transition,” she said. “We have a lot of things happening in Windham County, and this agency is very much engaged with Windham County, and life there post-Vermont Yankee.”
The Agency of Commerce will be administrating the $10 million in economic relief for Windham County that will be paid out by Entergy, owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, over the next five years as part of an agreement with the state that allowed the company to continue operating VY for the remainder of this year.
Moulton’s departure from BDCC has the organization faced with the position of having three different people in the executive director position in less than a year. Moulton came to BDCC to take over from Jeff Lewis, who retired late last year.
The BDCC board will be meeting this week to begin the process. In the meantime, director of operations Robin Sweetapple and director of economic development Laura Sibilia are expected to pick up the slack.
“It should come as no surprise that we view the Governor’s announcement with mixed feelings,” the BDCC board said in a prepared statement last week. “We will miss having Pat here on a daily basis, but we look forward to continuing to work closely with her and her agency on developing the regional and state economy.”