Today, State Revenue Commissioner Robyn Crittenden announced an innovative leadership team at the Georgia Department of Revenue. To streamline services for taxpayers, the Department has re-organized key divisions within the functional areas of Tax Operations, Agency Operations, and Governance & Planning.
- Frank O’Connell will serve as Deputy State Revenue Commissioner and General Counsel.
- Dr. Georgia Steele will serve as the Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Agency Operations and Governance & Planning.
- Chester Cook will serve as the Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Tax Operations.
The Assistant Deputy Commissioners for each functional area will report to Deputy State Revenue Commissioner O’Connell.
Frank M. O’Connell
Frank M. O’Connell was previously General Counsel and Director of Legal Affairs & Tax Policy for the Georgia Department of Revenue. He began his 18 years of service with the State of Georgia in the Compliance Division and transferred to Legal Affairs & Tax Policy as Assistant Director.
As Director of Legal Affairs & Tax Policy (LATP), Mr. O’Connell led a division that is responsible for holding administrative conferences for taxpayers who wish to protest either a proposed assessment of additional tax or the denial of a refund claim. LATP also provides written guidance in the form of letter rulings requested by individual taxpayers, as well as more general guidance such as policy bulletins and agency regulations that are subject to a public hearing and comment process. During the Legislative Session, LATP drafts legislative bills for the Department’s annual legislative package and analyzes all the tax bills proposed by lawmakers in the General Assembly. Finally, LATP provides in-house legal guidance to the Department. This consists of the drafting & reviewing of agency contracts, responding to Open Records Act requests, advising on confidentiality laws protecting taxpayer data, and responding to subpoena requests for DOR records.
Prior to joining the Department in 2003, Mr. O’Connell consulted in state and local taxation for ten years in two “Big Four” accounting firms. A member of the Tax Section of the Georgia Bar Association, Mr. O’Connell received his law degree from the University of Notre Dame and his LL.M. (in Taxation) from New York University.
Dr. Georgia Steele
Dr. Georgia Steele previously served as Chief Performance Officer (CPO) with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of the Strategic Plan and managing the subsequent formulation of its associated high-level objectives. Steele spearheaded the development of redefined organizational core values to facilitate the acceleration of the agency’s transformation to achieve higher levels of organizational performance. Before the role of CPO, Steele served as Director of the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). The MVD manages vehicle titling and registration services for more than 10.2 million vehicles, supports 159 County Tax Commissioners and their county tag office operations. In that role, she led the implementation of the state’s tag renewal kiosk program--the first of its kind in the southeast. Most recently Steele led the effort to replace Georgia’s decades old vehicle registration and titling system with the new, state-of-the-art Driver Record and Integrated Vehicle Enterprise System (DRIVES). DRIVES remains the nation’s largest, most successful (on time & budget) motor vehicle system implementation of the last decade.
Before joining the state of Georgia team, Dr. Steele served as Assistant Commissioner of Licensing and Standards with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (NYC TLC). As Assistant Commissioner, Steele led day-to-day operations and the licensing of the for-hire industry within New York City.
Georgia has a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems, a master’s degree in Public Administration, and a Doctoral degree in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California. She is also certified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Organizational Leadership & Culture Consultant, and Change Management Professional.
Chester Cook joined DOR in 2005, and before his promotion to Assistant Deputy Commissioner – Tax Operations, he served as the Director of the Audits Division where he was the senior leader responsible for all operational, management, financial, budget, and strategic planning activities for the Audits Division. This included leadership over multidisciplinary audit groups such as tax compliance for IFTA/IRP, motor fuel tax, individual income tax, corporate income tax, film tax credits, sales and use tax and several miscellaneous taxes administered by DOR.
Other positions within DOR that he has held include Assistant Director – Audits, Program Manager – Audits, Audit Manager and Audit Supervisor, all within the Audits Division. He has also served as a Tax Policy Analyst within Legal Affairs and Tax Policy. Prior to joining DOR, he held various roles with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors, and worked in corporate banking. He is a graduate of Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Taxation.