Those working under the executive director of Mount Vernon Towers in Sandy Springs — he retired two weeks ago — during that time are glad for it.
Moreover, Miller’s former staffers and clients at the retirement community aren’t the least bit shy when it comes to singing his praises.
“Nice” and its superlative form were the terms being thrown around by Mount Vernon Activities Director Cindy Hewlett — as in the nicest boss she’s ever had and one of the nicest people she’s ever known.
“He doesn’t micromanage any department, he believes in all of us, he knows every resident by name and he is involved, pretty much, in everything that goes on here,” said Hewlett. “The staff respects and admires him to the highest degree and that’s why everybody stays so long — because he’s so nice to everybody.”
The even-keeled Miller, 65, admittedly prefers to shy away from such talk. He had little choice but to soak it in as he was being bombarded with it from all sides during a visit to Mount Vernon last week.
Resident Barbara Borders, with Miller standing within earshot, highlighted her assessment of him with words like “terrific” and “aces.”
“He listens to your concerns. … You may not like the answer such as the time I wanted a marching band to come here and he said no,” Borders recalled with a laugh. “He is very concerned with the residents here. … Everyone in the building raves about Tommy. We didn’t want him to go.”
Miller did manage to get a word in between compliments — giving him enough time to deflect the praise.
“You should show respect and genuine interest to everybody,” he said. “Just like a baseball manager, you’re only as good as the team you put on the field.
“The biggest compliment I ever received on Mount Vernon Towers is you have a wonderful staff … and they’re so helpful, friendly and loving.”
Miller and company — 75 employees and 300 residents — have had plenty of time to cultivate said milieu.
Miller left the banking world 21 years ago to turn around the finances and fortunes of the-then foundering retirement community. Up until late June, Miller arose every morning to leave the comfort of his Snellville home to fight gridlock — one to two hours one-way depending on traffic — en route to his workplace destination.
Now that he’s stepped down, Miller plans to spend more time with his grandchildren, travel and play golf when he’s not advocating on behalf of organizations serving the senior population.
Longtime Mount Vernon board member Chris Peterson has since taken the reins as executive director. Still, Miller has not totally left the place behind. He recently joined its board of directors and will work on marketing initiatives.
Miller maintains that he will continue to dispel the perception often attached to senior living facilities.
“I think the stigma out there is this is where you go when you’ve got problems or your health has deteriorated … but it really is just the opposite.
“It’s just a different kind of lifestyle. … It’s hard for me to keep up with a lot of these [residents].”