First non-white to head Revenue Dept

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New York, Feb 25: Ms Navjeet K Bal, an Indian-American has been appointed as Commissioner of the Department of Revenue (DOR) in Massachusetts, becoming the first person belonging to the minorities to occupy this position in the US.

Secretary for Administration and Finance Leslie Kirwan appointed Ms Bal to the post, succeeding Henry Dormitzer, who quit the department to become the chief financial officer at Free Flow Power Corporation. Ms Bal, appointed earlier this month, had previously served as senior deputy commissioner since September. Mr Dormitzer had served as commissioner since June 2007.

Ms Bal (44), of Indian origin, graduated from Williams College and received her law degree from Northeastern University in 1989.

She had worked in Boston for the law firms of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo from September 1989 until April 2007, where she had extensive experience in public finance, state disclosure issues, state and federal tax law and structured financial transactions.

''I am honored by the appointment and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the many talented people at DOR,'' Ms Bal said in a statement issued by the department.

Ms Bal who founded Mintz Levin"s Domestic Violence Project in 1990, is a board member and former chairperson of the Legal Advocacy and Resource Center in Boston, and served during 2003-2005 on the executive committee for the statewide planning committee on delivery of legal services headed by retired chief justice Herbert Wilkins, a group which worked to reorganise the delivery of legal services in Massachusetts. She worked for some time in Boston for a law firm.

The appointment of Ms Bal was welcomed by her boss and her predecessor.

''While I am sorry to see Henry leave, and thank him for his hard work, I am delighted to appoint Navjeet Bal as DOR Commissioner. She is a talented administrator and a terrific leader, and I am pleased to promote her,'' Kirwan said in the statement.

''The opportunity to join an exciting new business venture poised to make a real impact in developing clean, renewable energy resources is an exciting opportunity that I cannot pass up. I know the department will be in good hands under Navjeet"s leadership,'' Mr Dormitzer said, describing his decision to leave DOR as one that was not easy to make.

Ms Bal whose department manages a budget of 20 billion dollars, employs 2,200 people, managing all taxes (income, corporate and sales) in the state.

The Indian-American is the second woman to hold the post. The last time a woman held the commissioner of DOR was during 1978-1982.

She was born in Kenya in a Punjabi family, which migrated to the African nation in the 1940s, coming to the United States as a child later.


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