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Kiely may still get position in Peduto's administration

| Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 8:39 p.m.
Mayor Bill Peduto pitches in with Public Works employees to fill potholes along a stretch of South Negley in East Liberty, Saturday, February 22, 2014.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Mayor Bill Peduto pitches in with Public Works employees to fill potholes along a stretch of South Negley in East Liberty, Saturday, February 22, 2014.
Mayor Bill Peduto tamps down the cold patch as he pitches in with Public Works employees to fill potholes along a stretch of South Negley in East Liberty, Saturday, February 22, 2014.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Mayor Bill Peduto tamps down the cold patch as he pitches in with Public Works employees to fill potholes along a stretch of South Negley in East Liberty, Saturday, February 22, 2014.

A day after Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's choice for budget director bowed out amid a running controversy over $83,000 in back taxes, the mayor said he may consider him for a position that does not require City Council approval.

Peduto said on Saturday that Edward Kiely could be considered for a deputy director position, possibly in the finance or treasury departments.

Kiely, 68, of Point Breeze withdrew on Friday from consideration as budget director, citing a “politicized” nomination process. He was facing an uncertain confirmation with many members questioning why he had not paid his taxes.

Peduto said he was disappointed with Kiely's decision to drop out and accused others of “cheap political gain” for making an issue of his tax problems. He said Kiely is a budgeting expert and was the best person for the job.

“It was a matter of how much he and his family were willing to take. I told him as long as he was willing to go through it, I would have his back,” Peduto said. “I certainly want him and need him.”

Kiely could not be reached for comment.

Peduto's remarks came during a news conference promoting a pothole blitz. The mayor worked for about a half-hour with one of 26 crews the city had filling potholes.

Council members had meetings scheduled with Kiely on Tuesday, saying their main objective was to learn why he owed the IRS $83,416 in back taxes and interest. They said he either canceled or failed to show for the meetings.

Council must vote on whether to confirm the appointments of high-level administrators. Peduto nominated Kiely on Feb. 5 to be director of the city's Office of Management and Budget, a post that pays $96,410 a year.

Kiely is a management consultant at his business, Kiely and Associates.

Peduto served as Kiely's campaign manager during a failed 1991 run for city controller.

The mayor said Kiely disclosed the tax problems during a job interview. Peduto said the back taxes stemmed from a business problem and that Kiely had worked out a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service.

Councilman Corey O'Connor of Swisshelm Park said Peduto has a right to hire whom he wants for positions but the tax question needs to be explained.

“I never got to meet with Ed. A meeting was set up but he never showed,” O'Connor said on Saturday. “I think it's a legitimate question even if he has an excuse. I just want an explanation. If he's a deputy director that's the mayor's ultimate decision. He has every right to hire who he feels is best for the job.”

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, a Peduto ally, said earlier this week that she told the mayor she would not support Kiely's nomination because of the back taxes.

“To say that this was political, I think, was an unfair assessment of the situation,” she said on Friday.

Peduto said the city is considering buying an asphalt plant jointly with the county and other municipalities. He said “hot patch” asphalt is not typically available in most places until March, forcing crews to use less-effective “cold patch.”

The city had an asphalt plant but sold it about 10 years ago.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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