Ben Miller Award

JurisdictionCalifornia,United States
CitationVol. 32 No. 1
Publication year2023





Jozel Brunett

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce our 2022 Ben Miller Award Recipient, who many of you already know well, Jozel Brunett. Allow me to share some facts and stories that you may not know about this truly wonderful human being, and highly-esteemed Chief Counsel of the California Franchise Tax Board.

Jozel Brunett has been with the Franchise Tax Board for 28 years, and has served in the role of Chief Counsel for the past 10 years. Before joining the FTB, Jozel was in private practice for 7 years, working in business litigation, before she found her home in public service.

In fact, joining the FTB is where she developed the bulk of her tax legal knowledge, since her prior work was in business litigation, not tax, and she had taken only one tax class while in law school at UC Davis School of Law (King Hall). However, Jozel had a possible premonition of her future in Tax, as she was actually pregnant with her oldest son (Justin) during finals week her second year of law school, and had a scant five days after her last final before he was born. That last final, of course, was her Tax final!

On that note, Jozel is a devoted wife, mother, grandmother to her five grandchildren, sister and daughter to her mother and brother in Berkeley. In fact, her husband John is here, as well as their youngest daughter, Julia, a recent graduate from Biola. Cheering her on in spirit are their oldest son, Justin, and their middle child Jordan. A family of 5 "J"s!

I would like to turn to why Jozel is so deserving of this award. Starting from the time I served on the State and Local Tax Committee and, later, the Executive Committee to the former Tax Section of the California State Bar, I have known and worked with Jozel for over 10 years, and have always felt a certain sympatico with her. We were both promoted the same year, and I recall being extremely impressed with her rise to the Chief Counsel role. I was inspired by her fresh energy, her commitment to transparency and a fair process, and by her rising capably into such a prominent leadership role within the Franchise Tax Board. She is the first woman to become Chief Counsel of the FTB, and while she may not have been the first name to come to mind among those who might have been in a position to speculate, her leadership skills are undisputed. Commendably, Selvi Stanislaus, FTB Executive Director, and others saw this about her early on.

I worked closely...

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