CLEVELAND, Ohio — A corporate lawyer from Shaker Heights who was the first woman to head the Ohio State Bar Association will be taking the reins of the Ohio Lottery Commission.
Kathleen Burke, 60, a partner at Jones Day, was tapped by Gov. Ted Strickland today as the lottery's new executive director.
She comes on board at a critical juncture for the state lottery system, which is trying to get as many as 17,500 slot machines at seven Ohio horsetracks up and running. The state budget over the next two years is counting on nearly $1 billion in revenue from the slot machines.
Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst cited what she called Burke's "impeccable character and integrity" as well as experience in handling complicated legal matters as prime qualifications for the post.
"Kathy is accustomed to managing people, projects and organizations and achieving results," said a statement released by Strickland. "Her role as a corporate litigator has required her to repeatedly take on very complex cases with high monetary stakes. I am confident that Kathy's character, skills and commitment to service will be of great value to the Ohio Lottery Commission."
Burke comes on board in the wake of last week's resignation of Michael Dolan, a former Cleveland city councilman, as lottery chief.
Dolan had come under fire for a poor performance in front of a committee of state lawmakers in July who were asking pointed questions about the governor's slot machine proposal. He had also been involved in a January incident in which he sent lottery tickets to a state trooper who let him off with a warning rather than a traffic ticket.
"I will draw on my experience in the business community as a corporate litigator for more than 30 years to ensure the Ohio Lottery's continued success," Burke said in a statement released today. "I believe that leadership involves providing strategic direction to an organization, inspiring people to do their best and setting an ethical tone.
"Along with the ongoing operations of the Ohio Lottery, we have a lot of work to do between now and May of next year. It is important that we not only get the job done, but that we do it in a way that assures the confidence of the people of Ohio."
Burke will begin on Aug. 24 and will be paid a salary of $129,500 a year. She asked Dolan to remain for a month or two.
(Click for full-size; opens in new window)Kathleen Burke, the new Ohio lottery director, is a former Bar Association leader.