Sean Wallentine is the Chief Deputy to Board Member Runner. He is responsible for ensuring Mr. Runner's constituents receive the highest level of service and assistance from the State Board of Equalization.
Like Board Member Runner, Sean is a dedicated "taxpayer advocate." Knowing that businesses and individual taxpayers must abide by complex and confusing tax laws, he directs support staff and experts who regularly help Mr. Runner's constituents remain in compliance with the law, which leads to business success.
From day to day, Sean oversees Mr. Runner's staff and offices in northern and southern California. He advises the board member on matters including, but not limited to: general tax administration, tax appeals, tax policy changes, legislative measures, board policy and process, executive level personnel matters, interacting with the business community, communicating with the media and the resolution of constituent inquiries.
Sean is a California native and a UCLA graduate. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1988 to 1994 and was on active duty in 1990 and 1991 during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Since beginning his career as a political adviser in 1994, Sean has worked for numerous elected leaders in the State Legislature as well as in the private sector as a campaign consultant.
Over the years Sean served as Legislative Director to Assembly Member Jim Morrissey and Chief of Staff for three members, including State Assembly Member Roy Ashburn, State Senator Bob Dutton and State Senator George Runner. Sean assisted these legislators with various public policy initiatives, emphasizing private sector job creation; welfare reform; enhancement of criminal penalties, especially for child predators; state budget development; government accountability; streamlining bureaucracy, and cutting government waste.
Sean is married to Doria (Morrison) Wallentine, who is a former staff member for Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte, State Senator Tim Leslie and Assembly Member Tom Bordonaro. They have three sons and reside in Sacramento.
Sue began working at the Board of Equalization in 2007 for Board Members Bill Leonard and Barbara Alby as a Senior Tax Counsel and continues on in that capacity for Board Member Runner.
Sue came to the BOE after having served more than a decade as a staffer in the State Capitol. She worked as a consultant for State Senators Maurice Johannessen and Colonel William J. "Pete" Knight. She also worked in Governor Schwarzenegger's administration as the Legislative Director of the Office of Planning and Research. As is common with most legislative staffers, her issue areas in the Senate and Governor's Office varied widely, including criminal justice, elections, tax/fee disputes, Indian Gaming, transportation and natural resources. Prior to the BOE, Sue also worked several years as a private attorney and served as the Public Policy Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, an organization dedicated to just enforcement of the death penalty.
Sue is married to Doug Haaland, a policy consultant in the Assembly Republican Caucus, and is active in local Republican politics. She is widely traveled, having been to more than 20 countries and is conversant in both French and Spanish. In her free time, Sue likes to play guitar, read, and both watch and play sports. Her favorites include running, hiking, skiing, biking, swimming, shooting, basketball, football, ice hockey, and volleyball.
Sue was born and raised in the San Francisco East Bay Area and is a graduate of Cedarville University in Ohio and McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California.
Barbara Buus began working for Board Member Runner in November 2011 at the Southern California office. Barbara helps constituents resolve both individual and business tax problems.
Previously, Barbara worked for the Automobile Club of Southern California for 38 years. She filled a variety of positions involving research and administrative duties relating to customer's requests. She has also assisted in several of campaigns over the years, ranging from local mayor and judge campaigns, to state assembly and state senate campaigns.
Born in Whittier, California, Barbara now resides in Lancaster with her husband of 33 years, Douglas. They have two adult children, Adam and Trena. Outside of the office, Barbara leads a women's Bible study, sings in a 60's band, and enjoys quilting.
As Communications Director, David Duran serves as the media liaison for Board Member Runner and manages all print and electronic communications. David also oversees the Board Member's legislative agenda and communicates with legislative staff on policy issues.
David's professional career began when he was selected to the prestigious California Senate Fellowship program. During his Fellowship he served in the office of Senator Bill Morrow. Since his appointment he has served as a staff member in the State Capitol for nearly a decade. He has worked for several legislators including Assembly members Patricia Bates and John J. Benoit, and Senator Bob Dutton. He has also served as the director of communications for a non-profit.
David was born and raised in Minnesota. He moved to California to attend college at Claremont McKenna College. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics, philosophy, and economics.
In addition to working for Board Member Runner, David serves as a deacon and teaches Sunday school at his church. He is also the founder of CalOpinion.com. David and his wife, Christina, have seven children.
Rebecca Hanohano has worked as Executive Secretary for Board Member Runner since March 2012. In this role, she performs a wide variety of administrative and staff support tasks including assisting with Boardroom preparations for staff meetings, and the review and analysis of Board policies as they pertain to individual taxpayer's casework.
Prior to joining the Board of Equalization, Rebecca served in the Office of the Governor for a decade during the Davis and Schwarzenegger administrations. Her work for the Governors included a variety of roles within the Constituent Affairs Department and the Governor's Transition Office.
As Assistant Deputy to Board Member Runner, Mai manages the day to day operations in conjunction with the Chief Deputy. She has more than 20 years of administrative, management and leadership experience in the government industry.
Prior to joining Senator Runner's office in January 2011, Mai served in the same position at the Board of Equalization from 2003-2010 for Board Member Bill Leonard.
Prior to coming to the BOE, Mai spent a decade working in the state legislature for Assembly Republican Leader Jim Brulte, Assemblyman Jim Battin and Assembly Republican Leader Bill Leonard.
She is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona earning a bachelor's of science degree in Business Administration. She majored in management and human resources and has a minor in public administration.
Mai was born in Vietnam and raised in the Imperial Valley. She credits her father and her late mother for instilling her with a strong work ethic.
Outside the office, Mai enjoys travel, photography and spending time with her family, especially her niece and nephews.
Lynne joined Board Member Runner's office in February 2011, after serving as the administrator at Aprea & Micheli, a government relations firm specializing in representation before the legislature and state agencies. Along with overseeing Senator Runner's policy and legislative agenda, Lynne also coordinates educational events throughout the district and assists taxpayers with various concerns.
Previously, Lynne spent eight years as director of administration with a non-profit, where she supported ministry leadership in establishing ministries, partner development, event coordination and human resources. Prior to working at the non-profit she had four years of political experience working for state elected officials in a variety of capacities.
Born and raised in Sacramento, Lynne attended the University of California, Davis earning a bachelor's degree in political science, with minors in human development and religious studies.
Lynne also has a master of arts in biblical counseling from The Master's College and is a certified counselor with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors. She and her husband David have one son. They enjoy family activities, and Lynne enjoys hiking and running in her free time.
Jim started his career with the Board of Equalization as a Field Auditor in the San Diego District Office. He was promoted to Associate Tax Auditor (in Sacramento) in the Information and Advisory Unit as a Tax Opinion Expert in 1997. In 2011, he joined the office of Board Member Runner as a Tax Consultant.
Jim serves on a number of multi-state groups such as the Border States Caucus, the Multistate Tax Commission and the Federation of Tax Administrators. Jim is also leading an effort to form "audit best practices" coalitions nationwide.
He is very active in the community, serving as founding President of the CSUSM Alumni Association and with numerous charitable activities including St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Toys for Tots, and the Lion’s Club.
Jim started as a youth baseball coach in 1998, and eventually served on the Cal Ripken Youth Baseball Board of Directors as President and Secretary and the Elk Grove Youth Sports Association. Jim was also Vice-President/Treasurer of Elk Grove Sting Youth Baseball, a year round baseball organization.
Originally from Long Island New York, Jim came to California via the United States Marine Corps in 1985. After his discharge in 1988, Jim attended San Diego State University and graduated in 1992 from Cal State San Marcos with a degree in accounting.
Jim and his wife Nina have three teenage children, Meghan, James, and Matthew.
Elizabeth Maeng serves as Senior Legal Advisor to Board Member Runner. She is the lead staff member for franchise and income tax matters. Elizabeth is a member of the Income Tax Subcommittee of the Tax Section of the California State Bar.
Elizabeth is also the lead staff member for county and state-assessed property tax matters. In addition, she has been the main advisor to the Board’s Property Tax Committee Chair for the past five years.
Previously, Elizabeth served as Tax Counsel for Board Member Michelle Steel, advising her on franchise, income, sales and use tax issues. She also worked in the tax department for a major oil company where she was responsible for property tax issues for refineries, terminals and pipelines in the western United States. Elizabeth has also worked for the Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, California Youth Authority, and California Rural Legal Assistance.
Elizabeth graduated from McGeorge School of Law where she received her Juris Doctor, Governmental Affairs Certificate, and Witkin Award for Excellence in Legislation. She also earned her Master’s Degree in Education and teaching credential from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.
Drew Mercy serves as Senior Advisor for Taxpayer Advocacy to Senator Runner in his southern California office. In this capacity he assists the Senator on tax policy, taxpayer services and outreach. Drew previously served in Senator Runner's Senate office starting in 2004 as a Field Representative and later as Deputy Chief of Staff.
Prior to 2004, Drew served in the State Capitol as Legislative Director to Assemblyman Ray Haynes and in the office of Senator William J. "Pete" Knight. He has worked in and out of government on many aspects of state politics.
Drew attended the University of California, Davis, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in political science, with a minor in history. Drew and his wife, Lauren, live in Lancaster where he also serves as a City of Lancaster Architecture and Design Commissioner and President of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, a regional non-profit focused on economic development.
Margaret Pennington has spent three decades as a tax professional at the Board of Equalization. She currently serves as a top advisor to Board Member George Runner as a Special Consultant. Prior to joining Board Member Runner's office, she worked as a Tax Consultant Expert to Board Members Bill Leonard and Barbara Alby since 2003.
Margaret has served many years in the Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate at the Board of Equalization. In that position, her full-time job involved helping taxpayers assert their legal rights and helping to resolve their tax problems. Margaret was also an influential member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's California Performance Review.
Margaret's other experience includes things like developing the Board of Equalization program for the YMCA's Youth and Government program, Chairing the Women's Advisory Committee, and working with the Board's Education & Outreach Office to help taxpayers comply with California's complex tax rules. She was also influential in the creation of the Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program that matches unrepresented taxpayers with law students who assist them with pending tax appeals.
Margaret is a devoted mother of three daughters and a son. Her education includes an Associate degree in Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. She currently is working toward a minor in real estate.
Alex Vassar has served as Board Member Runner's Deputy Communications Director since July 2012. As the Deputy Communications Director, he assists with online and print communications.
Having previously worked for a member of the San Jose City Council, Alex was selected in 2007 to participate in the Senate Fellows Program. After his Fellowship, he worked in both the office of the Senate Minority Leader and the Senate Republican Caucus.
Since 2004, Alex has been the editor of JoinCalifornia.com, a widely-referenced website about California's political history. Alex has also written two books, including "The Legislators of California" which won the 2011 Notable Document Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Alex has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from San Jose State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He and his wife Jane have two children.
Lee came to the Runner staff with eight years of prior Board of Equalization experience under Board Members Bill Leonard and Barbara Alby. Lee is the lead staff member for sales and use tax matters and works on other taxes as needs dictate. Lee primarily works on appeals hearings and regulatory and policy review and development.
Lee enjoyed a 25+ year private sector finance and accounting career before beginning his Board of Equalization career. To date, Lee has not met anyone who has "paid" more types of taxes the Board of Equalization administers than he has, but Lee is looking forward to the day he does.
Lee is a Certified Public Accountant. Lee's educational background includes a Master's degree from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie-Mellon University and a Bachelor's degree from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.