Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement Wednesday defending his choice of Edward Kiely to head the new Office of Management and Budget despite the nominee's income tax problems.
Mr. Peduto said he had consulted with city council President Bruce Kraus about the nomination and said Mr. Kiely would schedule meetings with members of council to discuss his background and explain the unpaid taxes before his nomination is submitted for approval. He described Mr. Kiely as "someone with integrity who is fully capable of serving the residents of this city."
"I have agreed to meet with Mr. Kiely one-on-one," the council president said in an email. "I will then share the outcome of our meeting with City Council members to determine how to proceed with the vetting of this nomination."
Mr. Kiely twice ran for city controller in the 1990s. He runs his own business consulting firm, Kiely and Associates, and holds a Ph.D. in management from the University of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Kiely was recommended for the new position through Talent City, a foundation-backed group set up to review potential mayoral appointees in an apolitical manner. Outside consultants and panels help screen and select finalists, giving the mayor the final say. His tax situation became public after his nomination Wednesday, but Mr. Peduto said Mr. Kiely had explained during the interview process that he is under an installment plan to pay around $83,000 in income taxes.
On Wednesday, Mr. Peduto's staff said Mr. Kiely had a large client who failed to pay his financial consulting firm. Mr. Kiely is a former head of the Pennsylvania Economy League and has extensive background in government finances.
"Mr. Kiely was forthcoming in disclosing that he is under an installment agreement with the IRS, and that while he had an unfortunate situation as the owner of a small business, he has been in compliance with tax laws," Mr. Peduto's statement said. "He and his family have suffered as a result of a prior business dispute, and he has worked hard to correct the situation."
But as questions swirled about Mr. Kiely's past, Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith also expressed plans to scrutinize Talent City, saying she was skeptical of some of the outcomes. Mr. Kiely is the second person to be selected through the process. Ms. Kail-Smith wants to call for a post-agenda hearing on the topic to get members of the administration and organizers of Talent City to answer questions about "the process and the purpose."
Moriah Balingit: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.
Ed Blazina: email@example.com or 412-263-1470. Moriah Balingit: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. First Published February 6, 2014 12:34 PM