Maryland Democratic legislative leaders named Victoria L. Gruber, chief of staff to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), to serve as executive director of the Department of Legislative Services.

Gruber replaces Warren G. Deschenaux, who retired in December after two years as the state's top legislative analyst and a long career working on policy in Maryland.

Gruber began working in Annapolis in 1999 as a policy analyst and later became senior legislative counsel for the Senate Budget and Taxation committee. She has served as Miller's chief of staff since 2006.

"All members of the Legislature know that Vicki has a keen intellect and a tremendous grasp of public policy and the state budget," Miller said in a statement. "In the modern era, we must do what we can to promote strong, talented women, and I can think of nobody better suited for the job than Ms. Gruber."

Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore County) praised the selection, calling Gruber an "excellent choice," one who "has a great understanding of how the whole operation works."