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Gov. Strickland Names Kathleen Burke as New Ohio Lottery Director

The state of Ohio's new lottery head is an occasional player of lottery game whose expertise as a corporate lawyer might seem an astonishing fit for someone tasked with managing the biggest gaming expansion in the state lottery's history. But Governor Ted Strickland stated on August 10th, 2009 that Kathleen Burke's background makes her qualified to manage the Ohio Lottery as it plan to install 17,500 slot machines at Ohio racing tracks.

Governor Strickland said that Burke's role as a corporate litigator has required her to managed very complex cases with big monetary stakes. He is very confident that with Burke's character, skills and commitment to public service will be of great importance to the Ohio Lottery Commission. Burke replaced Michael A. Dolan, who announced his resignation on August 4th, 2009 after a rocky two-year tenure in the lottery.

Burke said Dolan accepted her request to stay with the Ohio lottery temporarily as a consultant to assist with the video slots expansion. Burke will be paid $129,500 dollars a year, an improvement from the $115,991 dollars that Michael Dolan made last year. In June 2009, Gov. Strickland gave up his opposition to expanded gaming. As part of a state budget agreement last month, he ordered the Ohio Lottery to install video slot machines at state racing tracks to help solve the budget deficit.

The state expects to raise $933 million dollars in the next two years if eighty percent of the total number of slot machines planned are functioning by May 2010. Critics already have filed a lawsuit to force the slots proposal to a public referendum in November 2010. Burke said that she is not fazed by the complexity or political complications of her task.

Burke said that the kinds of cases she had handled required her to get up to speed very quickly. Strickland spokesperson, Amanda Wurst stated that several individuals were considered to replace Director Dolan but she decline to divulge the details.

Wurst also stated that Strickland did not specify looking for someone who had experience with state lotteries or handing video-lottery terminals but rather wanted someone from the state of Ohio with unquestionable integrity and solid professional credentials.

Records show that Burke has contributed $7,000 dollars to Governor Strickland's campaign since 2006 and she has long been acquainted with Gov. Strickland's chief of staff, John Hasely and chief legal counsel Kent Markus. Burke said that she contacted the governor's office in early July to express her interest in working for the state government.

Although there were no vacancies at that time, Burke got an audience with the aides of Gov. Strickland. She said that the governor's called her after Dolan submitted his resignation letter. Burke said that what is of particular interest to her is to do something that will benefit the state. She added that she was not particularly interested working for the state lottery at first.


Thursday, 10 September 2009
Darren G. Strachan